NASA Expresses Concern And Condolences For Helicopter Crew
Glenn Mahone/Doc Mirelson
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe expressed condolences and concern
for the crew of the helicopter searching for Space Shuttle Columbia
debris, which crashed yesterday in Texas.
"All of us at NASA express our sincere condolences to the families
of the helicopter crew members killed in the accident. We deeply
empathize with their loss during such a trying time, and have lowered
flags at all NASA centers to honor the memory of their loved ones.
Our thoughts and concerns go out to the injured crew members, and
we pray for their speedy recovery," Administrator O'Keefe said.
Administrator O'Keefe visited the operations area earlier this week
and thanked the personnel searching for Columbia debris. "I
spoke with Governor Rick Perry, our debris search partners, local
and state law enforcement officials, and I feel this accident has
widened the NASA family. We at NASA have been so impressed by the
devotion, energy and dedication of search crews, and we are deeply
sorry for the loss and injury of the people helping us solve the
Columbia accident," Administrator O'Keefe said.
The contract Bell 407 helicopter crashed Thursday afternoon, while
searching for Columbia debris in the Angelina National Forest in
San Augustine County, Texas. Five people were on the helicopter
when it crashed. Two were killed and three injured. Flight operations
have been temporarily suspended, and the FAA and National Transportation
Safety Board will investigate the accident. The helicopter was operating
under USDA Forest Service contract with Papillon Helicopters of
Ground search operations for Columbia debris continue. Search operations
in eastern Texas were scheduled to continue for approximately four
to six weeks. It is too early to determine if the accident will
delay completion of search operations.
For more information about NASA or the Columbia accident investigation
on the Internet, visit:
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