One Dead, Two Injured in Helicopter Crash Conducting Wildlife Research

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A private helicopter flying under contract with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for a mule deer study crashed Saturday, Jan. 27, in the southeastern part of the state, killing one member of the crew and injuring two others.

The Washington State Patrol confirmed that the crash took the life of Benjamin M. Poirier, 19, Berthoud, Colo., a crew member in the helicopter. The pilot, Blake Malo, 33, Clarkston, and the third crew member, Garrett Bradshaw, 30, Eagle Point Ore., were taken from the crash site to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston.

All three men were employed by Hells Canyon Helicopters, which operated the aircraft.

“This is a tragic accident that will be deeply felt not only by the families but by members of our own staff who have worked with this dedicated crew,” said WDFW Director Jim Unsworth.

This is the same helicopter and pilot that previously conducted elk capture work in Idaho’s Clearwater Basin for a multi-year Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation project.

Find more information here.

(Photo source: Idaho State Police)