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Sep-17-2013 14:53printcomments

Logging Helicopter Crash Claims Life of Pilot

Logging is a dangerous occupation, whether above or on the ground.

Helicopter crash
Helicopter crash takes the life of the pilot, near Detroit, OR.

(DETROIT, OR.) - A log-transporter helicopter crashed in Linn County near Blowout Road, two miles from Highway 22 east of Salem, claiming the life of the pilot Monday morning.

Linn County Sheriff's Office reports on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 3:42 P.M., the Linn County Sheriff's Office was notified of a helicopter crash near Blowout Road near Detroit. The incident occurred at a logging site on National Forest land, near Forest Service Road 1003, approximately two miles from Highway 22.

Witnesses of the crash gave deputies the following account: The helicopter, a 1962 Bell UH1B, was being used to transport logs from the cutting area to a log deck in Idanha.

It had just returned after the pilot had taken a 45 minute break.

The helicopter had picked up a load when witnesses reported hearing a loud snapping sound which was followed by logs hitting the ground and it appeared the pilot had released the logs electronically, indicating the pilot knew of a problem prior to the crash.

Witnesses then saw a rotor separate from the helicopter followed by it turning upside down and falling to the ground.

The pilot, William Bart Colantuono, 54, of Indialantic, Florida was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was the sole occupant of the aircraft. The helicopter is owned by Umatilla Lift Services, also from Indialantic, Florida.

Umatilla Lift Services was subcontracted by R&R Conner Aviation from Darby, Montana to fly logs from the logging site for Freres Lumber Company in Mill City.

Linn County Deputies, U.S. Forest Service personnel, Detroit and Gates Fire Departments, along with medics from the Lyons Fire Department assisted on the scene with the investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been notified.

The investigation is continuing. The helicopter has not been removed from the scene and the FAA will inspect it on Tuesday.

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