Helicopter crashes near Washington state community hit by mudslide

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 22, 2014 5:38 PM

By Victoria Cavaliere

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A helicopter crashed on Monday near a Washington state community in the Cascade foothills still reeling from a damaging mudslide, apparently injuring the pilot, according to authorities and media reports.

The helicopter was lifting cedar blocks when it crashed near Larch Lake, 8-1/2 miles outside the devastated community of Oso, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer. Further details were not immediately available.

Photos published online by Seattle's KOMO-TV showed rescue workers gathered in front of the totaled frame of the white chopper, which did not catch fire, in a large clear-cut portion of a wooded area near Larch Lake.

Federal aviation records show the helicopter was owned by Shelton, Washington-based Olympic Air Inc. A person who answered the phone for the company said the firm was declining comment until more information becomes known.

In March, a mudslide near Oso killed 43 people. On Tuesday, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said the last victim had been recovered from the huge March slide.

(Writing by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)