On the closing day of Backwoods Music Festival at Mulberry Mountain. Sunday, June 2, a helicopter giving sky tours throughout the weekend went missing late in the afternoon.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office reported that four people were on board, although the condition of the pilot and passengers is currently unknown. About one hour after the first call came in, rescue crews located the downed helicopter through a cell phone ping from a passenger’s 911 call.
Search and rescue crews are currently on the scene.
This story is still developing.
UPDATE: Sunday, June 2, 11:50pm CST: According to local police, the helicopter was confirmed missing around 8 pm, after the pilot missed the scheduled return at 7pm. Deputies have found the helicopter with no injuries reported at this time.
UPDATE: Monday, June 3, 9:29am CST: The Franklin County Sheriff, Anthony Boen, confirms three people have died and one is injured, reports KHBS/KHOG.
UPDATE: Monday, June 3, 2:32pm CST: After hearing speculation that the helicopter was full of industry professionals, CE began digging through social media profiles in search of the identities of those on board. The identity of one, Sarah Hill of Austin, Texas, was confirmed by a colleague on Facebook. Condolences go out to her family and close friends.
Please consider donating to Sarah Hill’s GoFundMe to alleviate funeral costs for her family.
UPDATE: Monday, June 3, 5:13pm CST: The identities of the two remaining casualties have been released to the public. Pilot Chuck Dixon of Tulsa and Marco Orneals of Mexico died after crashing not far from the landing site, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. A third passenger, Zachari Peterson of Omaha, Neb., was taken to a Tulsa hospital with several broken bones and internal injuries. He was listed Monday (June 3) in critical condition.