Two injured in Summit County helicopter crash
July 3, 2009
SUMMIT COUNTY – Two people were injured in a helicopter crash Thursday south of Quandary Mountain at an elevation of about 13,000 feet.
One passenger was flown to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver; members of Summit County Rescue group attended to the other.
The Bell 260 with Aviation Technology Services, of Englewood, crashed at about 11:30 a.m. roughly 2.5 miles west of Upper Blue Dam. After the company lost communication with the helicopter, a second was deployed to find it.
The crash was reported at about 2:45 p.m., according to Summit County emergency manager Joel Cochran.
The wreckage was found about 100 yards from an unnamed reservoir at the side of Mount Fletcher, in an area accessible only by helicopter or on foot. “There’s no way to get along the sides of the reservoir to get an ATV along that,” Cochran said. “It’s just a boulder field.”
He said a boat had been requested late Thursday after noon to help extricate the injured man who remained on the scene. As of 6 p.m., the man’s condition was listed as “yellow” on a scale including “red” and “green.”
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“[ He’s] somewhere between walking wounded and critical,” Cochran said. The crashed helicopter had been in the area to deliver supplies to a mine. Kurt Fishinger with Colorado Springs Utilities – which owns the water rights – said the wreckage is at an elevation of about 13,000 feet. A hazmat specialist with the sheriff’s office was on the scene, but Fishinger said there’s “mini mal concern for contamination” of the water.
Cochran said an Aviation Technology Services helicopter had been flying with the one that crashed; the cause of the crash hasn’t been determined. ATS provides a range of helicopter services including scenic tours, weddings and aerial pipeline leak detection.
Chilly rain showers lightly fell on personnel from Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Rescue Group and Ambulance Service as emergency backboards were loaded into the rescue helicopter. Members of the rescue group hiked to the wreckage, which was inaccessible by ground vehicle.
Cochran said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating the crash. Calls to ATS were not immediately returned.