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July 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Pilot injured in helicopter crash in Skagit County

Update at 2:44 p.m.: The helicopter that went down near Lake Larch this morning had been in two separate previous non-fatal accidents, according to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records.

The first accident occurred on Nov. 16, 1996, in Forks, when the Hughes 369D helicopter lost engine power during a logging operation and sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees during the emergency landing, the report says.

The cause of the crash, which left one person seriously injured, was determined to be fuel contamination which disrupted the flow of fuel and resulted in loss of engine power, the report says.

The cause was blamed on improper servicing of the helicopter and a lack of suitable terrain for an emergency landing, records show.

The second accident, which caused minor injuries to one person, occurred after the chopper had been involved in logging operations for about an hour in Taholah on April 7, 2003.

The NTSB determined there was no fuel in the tank although the fuel tank gauge incorrectly indicated there was, according to the reports. The float that indicates fuel quantity had become entangled in the start pump wiring because the wiring had been improperly secured, according to the report.

This morning’s crash occurred during a logging operation near Oso.

A cause for the incident has not been determined, but a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter crashed while lifting cedar blocks.

The 63-year-old pilot was conscious and breathing when he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, a spokesman for the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office will handle the investigation in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Update at 12:58 p.m.: Here is the preliminary report from Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration:

This is all of the preliminary information I have on an aircraft accident that occurred Tuesday near Oso, Wash. at approximately 12:00 noon PDT. This information is preliminary and subject to change.  

There was a helicopter accident Tuesday near Oso, Wash.  The helicopter, N5225C, a Hughes 369, crashed while lifting cedar blocks. According to local authorities, there was one person onboard. Please check with local authorities for more information on the occupant. Both the FAA and the NTSB are investigating, but the NTSB is the lead agency. Neither the FAA nor the NTSB releases the names of crash victims. This is all of the information we have at this time.

Update at 12:51 p.m.: Injured pilot is “conscious, alert and breathing normally,” according to scanner report.

Larch Lake, near the crash site, is in Skagit County. Unclear whether copter went down in Skagit County or Snohomish County.

Update at 12:38 p.m.: According to the tail number, the helicopter is owned by Olympic Air of Shelton. A man who answered the phone at the company said he had heard that one of the company’s helicopters had gone down, but they’re awaiting more information.

“We don’t know any more than that. We’re trying to find out,” he said.

The helicopter is a Hughes 369D.

According to Olympic Air’s website, the company has been providing helicopter services in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years.

Update at 12:31 p.m.: Rescuers have reached the downed helicopter and appear to be treating a single victim. Video from the scene shows a wrecked helicopter on its side.

Unconfirmed reports indicate it may be a logging helicopter.

Original post: The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is at the scene of a crash of a helicopter near Lake Cavanaugh.

The crash site is reportedly near Larch Lake, which is northeast of Lake Cavanaugh.

According to a scanner report, there is one confirmed victim. Condition is unclear. The report indicated there were no flames at the wreckage.

This post will be updated.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: helicopter crash, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office

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