As dusk approached, the Sikorsky helicopter touched down near the front lines of a forest fire on Aug. 5, 2008. Next Tuesday, investigators will report on why the helicopter crashed moments after takeoff, killing nine of the 13 men on board.
The co-pilot of a helicopter ferrying firefighters implored "Fly darlin', fly darlin', fly darlin', fly darlin ..."' as the chopper lost power and fell out of the air last year. Nine of 13 people aboard were killed. Seven were from Oregon, including a Eugene man.
While many of Oregon's forest protection districts have not formally entered wildfire season, Nature made an unofficial declaration of its own during the past week. A barrage of more than 24,000 lightning strikes ignited fires across the state.
Oregonians are remembering the firefighters killed last week in the crash of a helicopter in Northern California. A memorial service for 25-year-old Scott Charlson is planned in Eugene on Monday morning.
Witnesses of a fiery helicopter accident that killed nine people told investigators the aircraft had lifted off more slowly than normal before it struck a tree and crashed in a remote Northern California forest, officials said Friday.
Scott Charlson, who graduated from Lifegate Christian School, was about ready to look for another way to pay for his last year in college after his first two weeks as a firefighter. "Then he just grew up and decided, 'I can do this,' " his father said.
A helicopter crash that killed nine people and left four injured in Northern California marked the second time tragedy has struck Grayback Forestry, a pioneer and leader in the business of wildland firefighting.
Ten firefighters from Oregon were on board when a helicopter went down near Junction City, Calif., on Aug. 5. Three of the 10 survived and are still hospitalized. Seven of the firefighters are missing and are presumed to have perished in the crash.