Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fatal Accident During Routine Training at The Backbone Helibase

Incident: Backbone Wildland Fire
UPDATE: FF LODD-Copter Rappelling Drill Fall
As reported last night, National Forest Service Firefighter Thomas Marovich, 20, had been taking part in required weekly rappelling training, in which people slide down a rope from a hovering helicopter when he fell about 200 feet to the ground, said Forest Service spokeswoman Robin Cole. FF. Marovich was a second year apprentice firefighter on the Modoc National Forest, she said. He was working with the Chester Helitack Crew from the Lassen National Forest that had been assigned to the Backbone Fire in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

The training was a routine part of the ongoing battle to contain the Backbone Fire, a Forest Service spokesman said. The training is conducted at least every 14 days, he said. The death is being investigated by a Forest Service accident investigation team and the National Transportation Safety Board. Sparked by lightning on July 1, the Backbone Fire has charred 6,324 acres and was 80 percent contained as of today, Cole said. More than 500 firefighters are still working the fire, which is expected to be fully contained Friday. Our sincere condolences to all involved.

U.S. Forest Service ● National Incident Management Organization - Atlanta
Klamath National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest

Fatal Accident During Routine Training At the Backbone Helibase

WILLOW CREEK, Calif. - During a routine training exercise an individual was involved in an accident Tuesday morning. A Helicopter and its crew, who are assigned to the Backbone Fire, was conducting weekly skill proficiency acceptance training and was involved in an accident that took an individuals life.

At 10:10 this morning while performing a proficiency skill acceptance training, at the Backbone Helibase in Willow Creek, an individual fell and incurred fatal injuries. The training is required to be conducted weekly to insure the crew's safety and proficiency.

Information is limited at this time and all names of individuals involved are being with held until notifications to families have been made. We will be happy to provide information as soon as it is available.

The individual was provided medical attention immediately at the scene. The Base medical staff, the Humboldt County Coroner's Office, and the Humboldt County Sherriff's Office were dispatched and involved in the initial respons

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