Anchorage, Alaska – Rotak Helicopter Services released a statement today on yesterday’s crash of one of the company’s two CH-47 Chinook helicopters during firefighting operations on the Moose Fire that is currently burning approximately 12 miles Northeast of Salmon, Idaho.
The statement provided by Rotak Helicopter Services reads:
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.
Thomas “Tommy” Hayes, 41, of Post Falls, Idaho, and Jared Bird, 36, of Anchorage, Alaska, were the only occupants of the helicopter when it went down.
“Tommy and Jared represented the absolute best our country has to offer,” said Ely Woods, General Manager with ROTAK Helicopter Services. “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.”
ROTAK is working alongside the NTSB, the FAA, the USFS, and other appropriate agencies as they conduct their investigation.
ROTAK has voluntarily implemented a safety stand down, suspending operations with our other CH-47D until further notice. We are grateful for the first responders and volunteers assisting in the response and will provide more information at the appropriate time.