The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says two of its employees were injured Monday in a helicopter accident near Days Creek. ODFW identifies the two passengers as 34-year-old Holly Huchko and 35-year-old Eric Himmelreich, both of whom work out of the Roseburg office for the Umpqua Fish District. Huchko suffered a broken back and Himmelreich broke two vertebrae. Pilot Fred Wittlake suffered broken ribs and a broken arm.
ODFW Roseburg spokeswoman Meghan Dugan says the biologists were conducting fall Chinook spawning surveys on the South Umpqua, which means they were flying relatively low to the ground.
Dugan: "They're counting reds, which are nests, fish nests, in the gravel. Got to be close enough to see them."
ODFW says its biologists conduct several spawning ground surveys each year.
The crash knocked down power lines along the river. A hazardous materials team responded to the resulting fuel spill into the water.