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Incident Name:  responding to a smoke report on BLM land
Date: August 5, 1986
Personnel:  4 lives lost
Age:
Agency/Organization:  BLM helicopter with BLM and contract personnel
Position:

Summary:

Fatalities:
Lee Steingoetter, 32, from Grand Junction, CO
Phillip "Todd" Hamilton from Grand Junction, CO
Harold Siewers from Grand Junction, CO
Jim Daugherty, Pilot, 40, from Grand Junction, CO

On August 5, 1986. Helicopter 203 was dispatched from Montrose, Colorado to check out a reported smoke northeast of Montrose. While flying in the Black Canyon approximately 300 above ground level, they struck an unmarked high tension line and severed the main-rotor mast. The aircraft went out of control and fell 300 feet to the bottom of the canyon, where it caught fire. All four on board were killed instantly on impact with the ground.

Top of Black Canyon of the Gunnison, screen-capture of the National Park Service Webcam, June 24, 2011.

Top of Black Canyon of the Gunnison Top of Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Inner Canyon from the NPS website Inner Canyon from the NPS website

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Maps

The accident occurred in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison east of Montrose, CO

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Concise Information from WLF Staff research:
    • August 5, 1986 - Helicopter 203
    • 4 killed: Lee Steingoetter, Phillip "Todd" Hamilton, Harold Siewers, Jim Daugherty
    • BLM helicopter
    • Type: Aerospatiale SA315B Lama
    • accident occurred in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison east of Montrose, CO
    • FAA Registration # N90530
    • NTSB # no record; NTSB query page.
  • FAA: aircraft deregistration  (click continue, then scroll down to the bottom blue section for the notification of deregistration)
  • There is a photo plaque at the Grand Junction Air Center and each of the fatalities are listed on a Memorial to Airmen at the Grand Junction Airport.
  • USFA Memorial Database: Lee Steingoetter | Phillip "Todd" Hamilton | Harold Siewers | Jim Daugherty
  • US Social Security Death Index: James Daugherty | Lee Steingoetter

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Media Articles and Reports.

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

 

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Contributors to this article: Tim Foley

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