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4 Killed in Helicopter Crash on Payette NF

by Chris Sorensen |

YELLOW PINE, Idaho -- Four people died in the crash of a helicopter on a fire suppression mission in the Payette National Forest, officials said.

The one-engine A Star helicopter went down about 5 p.m. MDT Sunday on the South Fork Salmon River Road about 18 miles east of Yellow Pine and about 100 miles north-northeast of Boise, forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig said.

The wreckage was found within half an hour by a member of the Eastern Area Fire Use Management team who was driving on the road, and a small fire ignited by the crash was extinguished by a fire engine crew fire engine that was sent to the scene, Hartwig said.

All four people aboard, a contract pilot and three Payette forest employees on fire suppression duty, were dead when the wreckage was found, he added.

Hartwig would not give additional details late Sunday. Cause of the crash was undetermined pending an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration