UPDATE: 1:38 p.m. - July 22, 2022
SALMON, ID - Two people died when a Chinook helicopter crashed on Thursday near the Moose Fire.
ROTAK Helicopter Services released a statement to East Idaho News stating that Thomas “Tommy” Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, died when the chopper went down at approximately 3:30 p.m.
"We are devastated to confirm the two pilots aboard our CH-47D Series “Chinook” helicopter perished in an accident Thursday afternoon near Salmon as they worked to help contain the Moose Fire burning in the Salmon-Challis National Forest," the statement reads.
"Tommy and Jared represented the absolute best our country has to offer,” said ROTAK Helicopter Services General Manager Ely Woods. “Both were decorated veterans, hard workers, and outstanding pilots. Our hearts go out to their families, friends and loved ones. We are devastated by this incredible loss.”
Anchorage, Alaska-based ROTAK Helicopter Services had purchased two of the twin-rotor Chinook helicopters for firefighting operations this season.
The company had their aircraft working on the Moose Fire north of Salmon where we observed them flying bucket drops on the scene of the fire Wednesday. That involved lifting thousands of gallons out of the Salmon River and then making the long climb to get the water back to the firelines far above the canyon.
The helicopter has not yet been removed from the river. The National Transportation Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash.
(first report: 11:10 a.m. - July 22, 2022)
SALMON, ID - A helicopter being used to battle the 23,620-acre Moose Fire northeast of Salmon crashed on Thursday.
Fire managers issued the following statement in their Friday morning update:
We are aware of an aircraft accident that occurred on the Moose Fire, on the Salmon-Challis National Forest. The accident is currently being investigated in coordination with Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office. Please be patient and rest assured we will provide additional updates as information is received.
There is no word yet on the conditions of the two people who were on board the ROTAK Helicopter Services helicopter when it went down.
Below is a statement issued on the Rotak Helicopter Services website:
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that on July 21, 2022, at approximately 3:30 pm, a CH-47D Series "Chinook" Helicopter operated by ROTAK Helicopter Service with 2 people onboard was involved in an accident in the area near Salmon, ID.
According to the Lemhi County Sheriff's Office, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the accident.
Developing story. Check back for updates.