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Wrecked Helicopter Pulled Off Mt. Hood

June 07, 2002|From Associated Press

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A wrecked helicopter was removed from Mt. Hood on Thursday morning, a week after the Pave Hawk HH-60G crashed while a crew aboard was attempting to airlift a survivor from a deadly climbing accident.

An Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook, a larger helicopter with twin rotor blades, used a harness and a 200-foot cable to pluck the Pave Hawk off the snowy slopes of the mountain and carry it away.

The Pave Hawk, which weighs about 15,000 pounds, was set down about 15 minutes later in the parking lot of the White River Sno-Park.

Air Force Master Sgt. Bud McKay said the removal went off without a hitch.

The battered fuselage will eventually be transported to the air base at Portland International Airport, a spokesman for the Air Force's 939th Rescue Wing said.

The Chinook returned to the mountain to pick up other debris, and returned to the parking lot with a large basket filled with helicopter parts, including the rotors that sheared off when the chopper crashed and rolled down the slope.

Lt. Col. Dan Grussick said no more debris would be brought down Thursday. He said the parts were widely scattered over the mountain, and that the Forest Service would do an environmental assessment to determine the risks of retrieving more.

Grussick said the most dangerous part of Thursday's operation was hooking up slings to the upside-down helicopter.

"It was unstable and resting on a steep slope," he said.

Nine climbers fell into a crevasse about 800 feet from the summit of Mt. Hood on May 30. Three died in the accident.

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