A helicopter hauling logs for a logging contractor on the Willamette National Forest crashed Monday afternoon, killing the pilot, William Bart Colantuono, 54, of Indialantic, Florida. The incident occurred in a remote area near Idanha, Oregon southeast of Salem. Mr. Colantuono had appeared in the History Channel’s series, “Ax Men”.
The sheriff’s office said witnesses of the crash gave deputies the following account: The helicopter, a 1962 Bell UH1B, was being used to transport logs from the cutting area to a log deck in Idanha. It had just returned after the pilot had taken a 45 minute break.
The helicopter had picked up a load when witnesses reported hearing a loud snapping sound which was followed by logs hitting the ground and it appeared the pilot had released the logs electronically, indicating the pilot knew of a problem prior to the crash.
Witnesses then saw a rotor separate from the helicopter followed by it turning upside down and falling to the ground.
Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Colantuono’s family and co-workers.
Thanks go out to Ken