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One dead following Erickson helicopter crash

The pilot of an Erickson helicopter was killed when he crashed Wednesday outside Ashland, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reported.

The pilot was identified as Timothy Bruce Lyons, 69, of Port Bolivar, Texas. An autopsy has not yet been scheduled, the sheriff's office reported. Lyons was the only person on board.

The helicopter, a Bell 206, crashed under “unknown circumstances” Wednesday morning off Interstate 5 in a heavily wooded area somewhere near milepost 5 or 6, according to Ian Gregor, Federal Aviation Administration public affairs manager.

Erickson Chief of Staff Chris Schuldt confirmed Thursday it was a company helicopter that was on a routine training flight. The company reported it missing early Wednesday afternoon.

The aircraft had departed from the Medford airport at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, the FAA reported.

Crews from the agency’s search-and-rescue division received a request to search for the downed aircraft in a heavily wooded area at 3:01 p.m., officials said. Search-and-rescue crews located the crash site and confirmed one fatality, though when they found the helicopter was not immediately available. Officials from JCSO’s medical examiner’s office also responded to the scene.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will continue to investigate the incident, with the NTSB taking the lead. A probable cause for a crash “may not be determined for 12 to 18 months after the accident,” according to the NTSB website.

A call to the NTSB media office was not answered, with an outgoing voicemail message saying all employees of that office had been furloughed because of the government shutdown.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.