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Pilot killed in helicopter crash in Anaconda; FAA and NTSB investigating cause

Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 26, 2024

ANACONDA — A helicopter crashed near Anaconda’s landmark smelter stack as it was doing remediation work for the Atlantic-Richfield Co. along the mountainside.

“Yeah, unfortunately, this morning we had a major tragedy here in our community,” said Anaconda Chief Executive Bill Everett.

The pilot of a Bell 206 helicopter was killed after his helicopter went down around 7:45 in the morning in the hilly area just south of town. The FAA reports the pilot was the sole occupant in the helicopter.

The helicopter was contracted by ARCO to drop seed in the mountainous areas to reclaim land that was damaged by decades of smelter activity.

“Doing reclamation and re-vegetation work on some of our steep slopes which we can’t approach from ground equipment, unfortunately,” said Everett.

He added that the pilots have a dangerous and important job that improves the city.

“They’re the reason why these hillsides are not turning green, you know, give us another two or three weeks and these hillsides are going to look absolutely beautiful and it's due to the work these guys are doing and we’re very grateful,” Everett said.

Many Anaconda residents said they’re used to seeing the helicopter flying throughout the day and they're shocked to learn about the crash.

“You could hear it here, there, and everywhere and it’s been going on for what, a year or two? It’s terrible it has to have a sad ending,” said Brenda Proxell.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.