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New video shows rescue of helicopter crew after crash in Utah mountains

Posted at 6:53 AM, Dec 09, 2022

MOAB, Utah — No major injuries were reported after a helicopter crash involving a wildlife capture crew that was GPS-collaring mountain goats in the La Sal mountains Thursday.

The crash happened at about 11:15 a.m. on Thursday on Mount Tukuhnikivatz in the La Sal mountains, officials with the Utah Department of Natural Resources said.

A witness told San Juan County officials that they saw a metallic blue helicopter go down in steep terrain on the mountain peak but did not see any smoke or fire.

A wildlife capture crew of three, contracted by the DWR were on board the helicopter and were GPS-collaring mountain goats in the area for an ongoing study.

No DWR employees were on board the helicopter and all three crew members were uninjured in the crash, DNR officials said.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said there were only minor bruises and soreness reported by the three individuals.

On the other hand, the helicopter was "significantly damaged and is estimated to be a total loss," Utah DNR officials said.

Due to the terrain and area where the crash happened, it was extremely difficult for crews to navigate to the scene right away, San Juan County officials explained. They were, however, able to make contact with the crew and get them airlifted to a staging area to be checked out by medical crews.

The crew's mission of capturing wildlife from a helicopter is a dangerous occupation, officials explained, but the company that was contracted by the DWR, "Helicopter Wildlife Services" is highly trained and responsible professionals.

Safety is the top priority for helicopter capture missions and there are plans in place for emergency procedures and notification protocols if the unthinkable happens, DNR officials told FOX 13 News.

The crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.