Firefighter discusses moments crews got to scene of deadly helicopter crash

Firefighters deal with aftermath of deadly helicopter crash
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 1:28 PM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It has been two days since a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter used for tourism flights crashed along state Route 17.

Six people died Wednesday in the crash.

WSAZ is now hearing from the first responders who go to the scene of the tragedy.

The City of Logan Fire Department was the first agency at the crash.

“We train for this stuff, but we don’t ever want to see it,” said Logan Fire Chief Scott Beckett.

Chief Beckett says his crew is lucky enough to train with the 130th Fire Department at West Virginia International Yeager Airport.

“That’s helped us tremendously. It prepared us mentally and physically to know exactly how to attack the fire, know exactly what to do, know the hazards, and it’s just a great tool to have in the tool bag,” he said.

Every year, the majority of Logan firefighters go up to the airport to get live-burn and aircraft rescue training.

Beckett says their training has already allowed them to deal with many plane crashes in the past, with the most recent one being about a year go.

But he says they’ve never had to deal with aircraft fatalities.

When crews got to the scene of the helicopter crash Wednesday evening, Beckett says they already feared the worst.

“The amount of jet fuel and fire, I just don’t know if anybody could’ve survived,” Beckett said.

WSAZ’s Shannon Litton asked Beckett how he and the rest of the department have been dealing with the aftermath.

“That’s one of the things that does bother you. Because whenever you get in this line of work, it’s a calling. You want to serve your community and you want to do the greatest good you can. Saving lives, that’s the pinnacle,” Beckett told WSAZ. “You hear that you’ve lost six people, but when you’re the people who’s handling the bodies, and making sure that they’re taken care of and handled properly, it definitely weighs on you because it’s a different thing whenever you’re right there hands on, and it’s tough mentally and emotionally.”

Chief Beckett says a stress debriefing was held last night at the Logan Fire Department for some of the medic crews who responded to the deadly crash.

The older guys on the fire department who have dealt with their fair share of tragic events also step up to mentor and help the younger firefighters deal with the toll a tragedy like this can cause.

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