Rescuer, snowmobiler killed when copter crashes

Thursday , February 16, 2012 - 12:07 PM

HELICOPTER CRASH

Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter pilot Ken Johnson is assistedafter being flown out of the...

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JACKSON, Wyo. -- Federal authorities on Thursday were investigating the crash of a search-and-rescue helicopter in northwest Wyoming that killed a volunteer crew member who was trying to help an injured snowmobiler who also died.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were looking into Wednesday's crash of the Bell 407 helicopter in Wyoming's Teton County, said FAA spokesman Mike Fergus.

Sheriff's officials said the crew had reached the injured snowmobiler and his party and were taking off to get more help when the crash occurred.

The rescuer killed was identified as Ray Shriver, 63, of Jackson. The snowmobiler, Steven Anderson, 53, of Morris, Minn., also died.

The pilot and another rescuer were injured.

They were taken to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson.

Tim Ciocarlan, president of Teton County Search and Rescue, said the pilot, Ken Johnson, remained in the hospital Thursday but was expected to be released later in the day.

Mike Moyer, the other rescuer involved, was released Wednesday night, Ciocarlan said.

It went down in the mountains about 50 miles northeast of Jackson.

The helicopter was built in 2008 and is registered to Hillsboro Aviation of Hillsboro, Wash. A company executive didn't immediately return a telephone call.

Sheriff's officials had said earlier that a failed rear rotor might have caused the crash.

Shriver was a county employee who volunteered with the county rescue organization, Teton County spokeswoman Charlotte Reynolds said.

"This is definitely a blow to the search and rescue organization, to the Teton County organization as a whole as well as our entire community," Reynolds said. "As someone said to me this morning everyone in our community knows someone on search and rescue, so it's pretty tragic."

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