Update 6 p.m. The pilot has been identified as Tom Duffy of Bozeman, a lay leader for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Montana and a former Montana State University basketball player, according to the church.
Duffy has served on the executive committee — the governing board — of the Adventist Church for Montana as well as for the North Pacific Union, the Adventist Church entity that oversees five states in the Northwest. Additionally, he served on the Adventist board of education in Montana.
“The Adventist community in Bozeman is heartbroken by this tragic loss,” says Elden Ramirez, the Adventist Church president for Montana, in a written statement. “Our love and prayers are with Tom’s family and loved ones. Tom has a long history of dedicated service as an Adventist leader here in Montana and the Northwest and will be deeply missed.”
Read the full story on Duffy from the church here.
MT. HOOD, OR (KPTV) -- A Montana-based pilot died in a helicopter crash while fighting the White River Fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
KPTV in Portland reported that the pilot worked for a private company contracted through the U.S. Forest Service out of Bozeman.
The U.S. Forest Service said a Type 1 Kmax helicopter was conducting buckets drops to help battle the wildfire when the crash occurred on Monday.
The identity of the pilot has not yet been released.
There will be an investigation into the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA have been notified.
"The firefighting community is heartbroken to learn of this tragic loss and our condolences go out to the pilot's family, friends, and co-workers," the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.
No further information about the crash has been released at this time.
The White River Fire is burning in the Mt. Hood National Forest, about 20 miles west of Wamic. It is currently estimated at 1,102 acres and is five percent contained.
The cause of the fire was determined to be lightning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.