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Second Erickson helicopter crashes

Three people survived a water crash Sunday of an Erickson Air Crane helicopter into a reservoir in Australia while battling a wildfire, the second Erickson helicopter crash in less than a week.

The crash has triggered Erickson to implement a “rolling, global safety stand-down” of its more than 40 helicopters as shifts resume around the world so crews can review safety protocols.

“It’s working our way around the world and take pause in our operations to work through reinforcing the prime importance of safety,” Erickson Chief of Staff Chris Schuldt said.

In Sunday’s incident, an S-64 Air-Crane was assigned to the Thomson Complex Catchment brush fire near Jericho, Victoria, when it crashed into a reservoir in what Erickson described as a “challenging and dynamic fire environment.”

All three on board were treated and released from a local hospital, Erickson stated in a release.

Preliminary data indicate the aircraft and all flight systems were operating normally at the time of the crash, the release states.

Schuldt said he did not know the identifies of those involved in the crash or whether any Americans were on board.

Erickson and Kestrel Aviation, which has the firefighting contract with the Australian government, were cooperating in the investigation, the release states.

Last Wednesday, pilot Timothy Bruce Lyons, 69, of Port Bolivar, Texas, died when the Erickson helicopter he was piloting crashed for unknown reasons in a heavily wooded area near Interstate 5 about 5 miles from the California border.

Lyons was alone in the Bell 206 helicopter and took off from the Medford airport about 8:45 a.m. that day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board continue to investigate the Ashland-area crash.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneAn Erickson Air Crane fire copter heads over Ramsey Road after loading up water during last summer's wildfires. An Erickson helicopter crashed Sunday in Australia.