Garfield County, Wa- On Jan. 27 a private helicopter, flying under contract with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), crashed between Meadow Creek Road and Lower Deadman Road, about 20 miles north of Pomeroy.
The Hughes 369D aircraft went down at about 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27 2018.
It was the first day of fieldwork in the operation to monitor mule deer. The Washington State Patrol confirmed the death of crewmember Benjamin M. Poirier, 19, of Berthoud, Colorado. The pilot, Blake Malo, 33, and the third crew member, Garrett Bradshaw, 30, were taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston to treat their injuries.
On the afternoon of the crash a WDFW biologist alerted law enforcement officials when a smartphone app tracking the flight showed the aircraft had stopped moving.
The helicopter crew was working with ground-based state biologists to capture and attach radio collars to mule deer to study the animals’ movement and survival.
The three men were employed by Hells Canyon Helicopters, a company native to the Palouse area, and specializes in surveying wildlife.
The National Transportation Safety Board, Washington State Patrol, and The Federal Aviation Administration are leading the investigation. As of now the cause of the crash is due to unknown circumstances.