Delta, CO Helicopter Crash, Aug 1986


Delta, Colo. (UPI) -- A helicopter under contract to the Bureau of Land Management struck some powerlines and crashed while checking out a reported forest fire Tuesday, killing all four people aboard.
Pat Archer, BLM spokeswoman in Denver, said the names of the victims -- three temporary employees of the BLM and a contract pilot -- were being withheld until relatives were notified. She also refused to identify the firm that owned the helicopter until the pilot's name is released.
Archer said the crash was reported to the Delta County Sheriff's Department about noon by a state trooper. The llama model helicopter crashed and burned on a sage-covered hill about 16 miles east of Delta. The crash cut off electric power to hundreds of homes and businesses in the area.
Witnesses told investigators the helicopter clipped some power lines atop the hill, knocking off the aircraft's rotor blade, and then crashed. Live electric wires were knocked into the nearby Gunnison River, hampering the effort to recover the bodies.
Archer said the victims were members of a
"Helitak" crew, equipped with water, tools and other firefighting equipment.
"These teams provide the initial attack to get on the fire lines," she said. "Most of the time they can contain a fire to one acre, if we are notified soon enough."

Hutchinson News Kansas 1986-08-06