Peninsula Daily News
OLYMPIC NATIONAL FOREST — The president of a helicopter company died in his aircraft this morning during a logging operation, authorities said.
Joshua M. Tripp, 44, of Missoula, Montana, was killed when his helicopter crashed in the the West Twin River area this morning about 7 miles west of Lake Crescent, Brian King, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office chief criminal deputy, said this afternoon.
Tripp, the president of Iron Eagle Helicopter Inc., was based at a logging camp in Olympic National Forest, authorities said.
No one else was aboard the helicopter.
Tripp’s body won’t be flown out of the crash site for days because of the rough terrain, King said.
“We don’t know exactly how we will do it, whether by ground or by air,” he said.
“It’s an extremely rugged area.”
The crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Traffic Safety Board, or both agencies, King said.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, investigated the report of the crash.
The Sheriff’s Office said Peninsula Communications received a 9-1-1 call at 7:40 a.m. regarding the crash of a UH-1 Huey helicopter conducting forestry operations in the area of West Twin Road in Olympic National Forest.
Tripp had been conducting grapple-logging operations in Olympic National Forest, hoisting logs he moved to a site before they were put on loaders, King said.
He left the landing pad at the logging site at about 7:30 a.m.
“It was a short time later that he reported going down, and they lost contact,” King said.
“We don’t know if he was actually picking up a log.”
Emergency personnel had not made it to the crash site as of shortly before noon this morning, he said.
“There’s no way for them to get to it due to the terrain,” King said.
A logger found the crash site at 8:52 a.m. and confirmed the pilot was deceased.
A Coast Guard aircraft assisted in the search, spokeswoman Amanda Norcross said.
Olympic National Forest spokeswoman Susan Garner said the helicopter was subcontracted to a logging operation doing work under the KOCC Sale in Olympic National Forest.
Garner said the crash was off Forest Service Road 30 near Snider Divide.
She said at about 10:30 a.m. today that an Olympic National Forest Service law enforcement officer was on his way to the site.
“We’re all pretty shook up about this,” Garner said.
“It’s a terrible tragedy for everyone.”
Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies, Clallam County Search and Rescue, Clallam County Fire District No. 1 and the State Patrol were in the area this morning, said the Sheriff’s Office.
This story originally appeared in the Peninsula Daily News, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.