A helicopter crash in which five people apparently escaped serious injury on Wednesday will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board in Denver.
The Bell Jet Ranger III craft, piloted by James C. Reid, was carrying three skiers and a skiing guide when it crashed about 10:30 a.m. in the Dutch Draw area of Park West ski resort.Passengers were not identified.
Mitch Barker of the Federal Aviation Administration Public Affairs office, Seattle, said Thursday that preliminary information shows that the craft "lifted up, caught a gust of wind and crashed."
Rusty Dassing, general manager for Utah Powerbird Guides, Park West, a ski guide service, told the Deseret News that helicopter was taking off from a ski run and was forced to land in an area of trees. He said the craft was between 50 and 100 feet off the ground.
The helicopter came down with its power on. It was not a hard landing, but the craft was banged up pretty badly. All five people were unharmed, Dassing said.
The helicopter's blades were broken and the craft received shell damage, "but it was not that bad of a deal. I don't think the people in the helicopter were that shook up," Dassing said.
Another Utah Powderbird Guides employee said the helicopter was leased. Reid was not employed by the Park West firm, he said.