September 15, 1997 in Nation/World

Investigators Visit Copter Crash Site

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

Air-safety investigators were flown Sunday to the site where a search helicopter crashed just outside Olympic National Park, killing three people.

Meanwhile, authorities scaled back the weeklong search for a missing 73-year-old hiker.

Search teams still have no idea where to find John Devine of Sequim, Wash., who failed to return to his camp near Mount Baldy Sept. 6, said Gary Gissell of the National Park Service.

Five park employees survived when the Bell 205A-1 chopper from Heli-Jet Corp. of Eugene, Ore., went down Friday afternoon at an elevation of about 5,200 feet.

Killed were pilot Kevin Johnston, 35, of Springfield, Ore.; Taryn Hoover, 31, a seasonal park employee from Waldron; and Rita McMahon, 52, of Aberdeen, Wash., a member of a Grays Harbor County search-andrescue team.

The victims were remembered at a private memorial service Sunday morning in Port Angeles.

All the injured are expected to fully recover, park officials said.

On Sunday, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Department of the Interior visited the crash site. After the on-site investigation is completed, the wreckage will be taken to a storage facility for further examination.


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