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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

One dead, two injured in helicopter crash in Garfield County

A helicopter crashed Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 in northern Garfield County, killing one passenger and injuring the pilot and another occupant. (Washington State Patrol / Courtesy photo)
From staff and wire reports

A helicopter crashed Saturday in northern Garfield County, killing one passenger and injuring the pilot and another occupant, authorities said Sunday.

Washington State Patrol spokesman Trooper Chris Thorson said the helicopter crashed at about 2 p.m. between Meadow Creek Road and Lower Deadman Road, about 25 miles north of Pomeroy.

One person was found dead at the scene, Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies said.

The helicopter was contracted by Washington state’s Fish and Wildlife department to help with mule deer surveying. The crew had been contracted to shoot nets onto mule deer.

Family identified the deceased as Benjamin Poirier, 19, of Berthoud, Colorado. Pilot Blake Malo was airlifted to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, where he remained in critical condition, the hospital said Sunday. Passenger Garrett Bradshaw was in fair condition.

Deputies said the helicopter was owned by Hells Canyon Helicopter, a Palouse-area company that captures and surveys wildlife.

After deer are trapped, the helicopter usually lands so crew members can take samples and put tracking collars on the deer.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Hughes 369D aircraft crashed due to “unknown circumstances.”

The National Transportation Safety Board, WSP and FAA are leading the investigation.

A previous version of this story erroneously stated three Department of Wildlife biologists were on board the helicopter, due to a source’s error. One of the victim’s names and ages was misreported, also due to a source’s error.

Spokesman-Review reporter Jonathan Glover contributed to this report.