Pilot Brandon Ricks, 40, and Steven W. Cobbs, 55, dead, and Brendan Mullen critically injured after helicopter crash during controlled burn in the Desoto National Forest in Harrison County, Mississippi

Modified Date: 
Fri, 01/13/2017 - 9:32pm
Accident Date: 
Monday, March 30, 2015

Helicopter crashes during controlled burn in Harrison County

A helicopter has crashed in Harrison County, and at least one person is seriously injured. Officials said the helicopter was working with crews on a controlled burn.

2 dead, 1 injured in helicopter crash in Harrison County

Eddie Baggett, prescribed fire specialist for the U.S. Forest Service, says the three people on the helicopter were contract workers.

UPDATE: Two dead, 1 injured in Harrison County helicopter crash

The helicopter they were in crashed near Airey Tower Road, off Highway 67.

Investigators working into the night at site of fatal crash

"The helicopter was circling around the fire and within the next couple of minutes I saw it. It was landing on purpose, but it sounded like a little maybe in distress. But then shortly there after a rescue came in and was wanting to know how to get back there," said Earnest Richardson Junior. 

Federal investigators arrive at helicopter crash site

Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan is assisting the investigators with their initial assessments. "It's a thorough, long-term investigation to look at all factors and interview everybody who may have information," Chief Sullivan told WLOX News.

Victims killed in helicopter crash identified

Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said the pilot, Brandon Ricks, 40, of Oklahoma died of smoke inhalation. The other man killed in the crash, Steven W. Cobbs, 55, of Wiggins died of multiple blunt force trauma. 

Helena National Forest worker survives helicopter crash that killed two

“Our hearts go out to the families of Brandon Ricks and Steve Cobb in this very difficult time,” Bushnell said in a statement. “We also are keeping Brendan and his family in our thoughts and prayers for a full recovery.”

Helena National Forest worker sole survivor of Mississippi helicopter crash

Bushnell said Mullen suffered broken bones and some burns and was transported in critical condition to a hospital in Mobile, Alabama, where he his condition has since been lowered to serious.

Lone survivor in helicopter crash tells family members of horrifying events

"I think it's kind of a blur to him," she said. "Except that the lights went on indicating some type of failure and they had... seconds to prepare for the crash.” 

NTSB investigators say finding the cause of helicopter crash will likely take months

 “Once the wreckage has been recovered, we will begin to investigate the man, the machine and the environment. This includes the archived information, pilot information in particular, including any certificates or ratings that he held,” said investigator, Stein.

Only survivor in De Soto National Forest helicopter crash files lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges the Bell 206L-1 helicopter had a defective engine which caused the helicopter to crash. 

Report released for fatal Mississippi helicopter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded the helicopter experienced a “loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined”. The helicopter did not catch fire when it hit the ground, but it was soon ignited by the spreading prescribed fire, hampering the NTSB investigation.

The U.S. Forest Service was set to burn 800 acres of forest in the Desoto National Forest. One of the helicopters working with crews during this time crashed, resulting in at two deaths and one injury. The injured person was airlifted to USA Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama. No more information is known. Check back for updates.

People Involved: 
Brandon Ricks
Steven W. Cobbs
Brendan Mullen

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