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Helitak Crew Member Killed in Taining Accident

by Chris Sorensen |

The Forest Service is investigating the death of 20 year old firefighter Thomas Marovich from Hayward Calif. He suffered fatal injuries during a rappel proficiency skill training at the Backbone Helibase in Willow Creek.

Marovich fell approximately 200 feet out of a Bell 212 helicopter on July 21, according to updated information provided on July 22.

Described in a news release as a second year apprentice with the Forest Service at the Modoc National Forest, Marovich was working with the Chester Helitack Crew from the Lassen National Forest which was assigned to the Backbone Fire at the time of the accident, according to a news release.

The Forest Service reported that Marovich fell the morning of July 21 while performing the required training that was described as "routine."

He was provided advance life support treatment immediately at the scene. The Base medical staff, the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, and the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office were also involved in the response.

A serious accident investigation has begun involving the Forest Service and National Transportation Safety Board.

A memorial service for Marovich was scheduled for Wednesday morning, July 22.