Since last evening our thoughts and hearts have been with the family, friends, and co-workers of the two people who lost their lives yesterday afternoon when a helicopter crashed on the Desoto Ranger District on the National Forests in Mississippi.
While we are unable to release names until we can confirm families of the deceased have received official notifications, I can say the pilot of the helicopter and a U.S. Forest Service employee of the Desoto Ranger District were killed in the accident; another Forest Service employee from a different region was seriously injured and airlifted to a hospital in Mobile, Alabama.
At the time of the crash, they were supporting prescribed fire operations on the forest. We’re grateful to the Forest Service employees, the county sheriff and the emergency responders who worked so hard to ensure the injured individual received prompt medical attention.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the accident and are responding. The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation; we will cooperate with them fully.
To the families of all involved, please know we are thinking of you; we are here for you and we are sending you our love in this time of loss.
We will share more information as it becomes available.