<span class="italic">Columbia</span> Search Helicopter Crashes, Two Die, Three Injured; Air Search Operation Suspended Pending Incident Investigation

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Release date: 
March 28, 2003
Release Number: 

Lufkin, TX -- A helicopter pilot and the front-seat craft manager were killed and three on-board spotters were injured when a Bell 407 search chopper crashed in the Angelina National Forest in San Augustine County, near Broaddus, Texas around 4:00 p.m., Thursday, March 27th.

Texas Forest Service employee Charles Krenek of Lufkin, Texas and Pilot Jules F. 'Buzz' Mier, Jr. of Arizona were killed in the accident. Injured were Matt Tschacher, U.S. Forest Service, South Dakota; Richard Lange, United Space Alliance at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Ronnie Dale, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"The entire FEMA family expresses our condolences to the families of Jules F. 'Buzz' Mier, Jr. and Charles Krenek who died yesterday in the accident. Our prayers for a speedy recovery are also with those who were injured," said Acting Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response Michael Brown.

"We are all keenly aware of the sacrifice made by those assisting in this important investigation. We join with the other federal, state, and local agencies involved in this effort in mourning the death of these two brave men."

Shuttle material air search activities have been suspended pending an investigation into the accident.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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