‘It takes the breath out of you’: Logan Co. leaders react to helicopter crash

TEAM COVERAGE | Helicopter wreckage removed; roadway reopen at deadly site
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:02 PM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Logan County leaders believe there has been a noticeable tone shift in the area since Wednesday’s helicopter crash killed all six people on board.

“Everyone was walking around like zombies,” Logan County Commissioner Diana Barnette recalled Friday. “You couldn’t believe this happened. We all were just waiting for better news, and it’s just something that takes the breath out of you.”

Barnette said she first heard of the crash from a friend, called her son-in-law who is a first responder and headed to the airport.

Barnette, who serves on the Logan County Airport Board, said the Annual Huey Reunion ran by MARPAT Aviation is well-organized and there were few concerns going into the event.

West Virginia State Sen. Rupie Philips, who represents Logan, said he had ridden on the Huey multiple times in the past and was planning to ride it later in the week.

He said the reunion tour represents all that is good about West Virginia, bringing people from all over the country to see the mountains and check out the area.

“It’s very said for Logan County, and the aviation group is tight when you get down to Hueys choppers,” he said. “I’ve flown a lot of choppers and it’s just sad. We’ve just lost six good people.”

No victims have been publicly identified.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday the victims included three pilots who were qualified to fly the Huey, the wife of another pilot and two passengers.

Barnette praised the work of the first responders on scene and the other investigators in their recovery efforts. She said the immediate future will be a learning experience.

“We learn, we don’t know exactly what happened but I think we get a little more training,” she said. “When something like this happens, you want to make sure that people are protected, that victims’ identities are protected and their families are protected and taken care of.”

Philips said the future will take a lot of healing.

“In Southern West Virginia, we’re all one big family and we all hug each other, we’ll get over it, get through it embrace each other comfort each other,” Philips said. “It’s hard to say you can’t put it in words but the community will come together.”

For related coverage:

NTSB official: Agency dedicated to ‘a very thorough’ investigation into helicopter crash that killed 6

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