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Pilots killed in Salmon River helicopter crash

Local

SALMON – The two helicopter pilots involved in a crash near the Salmon River Thursday afternoon were killed.

Details about the crash are unavailable, but a news release from the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office indicates the call came in just before 5 p.m. Officials with the U.S. Forest Service were already involved in rescue efforts and lifesaving measures when local search and rescue arrived.

“The aircraft contained two pilots who were extricated and transported to medical facilities. Despite the life-saving measures in place, each pilot succumbed to their injuries,” the news release says.

The names of the pilots were 41-year-old Thomas Hayes of Post Falls and 36-year-old Jared Bird of Anchorage, Alaska. Both of them were employees of ROTAK Helicopter services, decorated veterans and highly experienced pilots.

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“We are devastated by this incredible loss,” Ely Woods, General Manager of ROTAK Helicopter Services writes in a statement to EastIdahoNews.com. “Tommy and Jared represented the absolute best our country has to offer. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and loved ones.”

ROTAK is working with the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Forest Service during an investigation of the crash.

All ROTAK helicopters have been grounded until further notice.

“We are grateful for the first responders and volunteers assisting in the response, and will provide more information at the appropriate time,” Woods writes.

The two pilots were assisting firefighters battling the Moose Fire about five miles southwest of North Fork near Salmon inside Salmon-Challis National Forest. The blaze has now burned 23,620 acres, according to a news release from Salmon-Challis National Forest.

No other injuries have been reported, and the cause of the fire has not been determined.

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