A Gig Harbor man was among those killed in the crash of a heavily loaded United States-owned cargo helicopter that went down in the Peruvian jungle shortly after takeoff. There were five American and two Peruvian crew members.
The tandem-rotor Chinook BH-234 chopper, owned by Columbia Helicopters Inc. of Aurora, Ore., crashed Jan. 14 near the provincial capital of Pucallpa.
Dann Immel, command pilot from Gig Harbor, was among the five Americans.
The helicopter was under contract for petroleum exploration support and was en route to a drilling location in northern Peru, said Todd Peterson, the company’s vice president of marketing.
The aircraft was carrying a sling load, an external cargo secured by cables, company president Michael Fahey said. He did not specify the cargo.
Witnesses quoted in media reports said the chopper lost control and spewed smoke before it crashed.
Company officials said they had no immediate information on what might have caused the crash. They said a senior management team was headed to Peru to help local authorities in the investigation.