Saturday, April 17, 2010
That old-time feeling. WPR10GA102, 3 Serious Injuries
Flight experienced a loss of engine power and landed hard in the wilderness; the local area flight originated from a ranger station about 25 minutes prior to the accident; one of the passengers reported that both he and the other passenger were employed with the Idaho Fish and Game and the purpose of the flight was a wolf capturing mission; while maneuvering around area where Kelly Creek and Moose Creek intersect, several wolves were spotted; as the pilot maneuvered the helicopter closer to the wolves' location, a loud bang emitted from the engine compartment, followed by a loss of engine power and slight vibration; it appeared to one passenger that a wolf had fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the helicopter; the other passenger was blinded by schrapnel; with the low rpm light illuminated, the pilot attempted to fly the helicopter toward an opening in dense forest; the helicopter landed hard on ice, crumpling the landing skids and rolling inverted; on exiting, the pilot was injured by sharpened wooden spikes in the ice; the helicopter exploded and the pilot reported hearing small arms fire and howling throughout the night; having nearly succumbed to exposure and trauma, they were rescued by a platoon of Marines the following morning; the Marines reported that the leg of an unconscious passenger appeared to have been "gnawed off"; one Marine was dragged screaming into the woods during extrication, only his intestines and left jump boot were recovered; bite marks were consistent with various size wolves; the chief communications officer reported active jamming devices were in use throughout the valley, implying a "hereto unheard of sophistication on the part of the wolves" and adding "motherfucking wolves!" before kicking a rock; no flight plan filed; VMC; Public Use Flight; 1 Airline Transport Pilot, 2 Passengers.