HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - We now know the names of the victims in that fatal helicopter crash that claimed two lives in Harrison County Monday.
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. Cobb, 55, of Wiggins died of multiple blunt force trauma.
Hargrove said Cobb worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Ricks worked for T & M Aviation out of Oklahoma.
Members of the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and representatives from the helicopter company that crashed in the Desoto National Forest are all in Harrison County. They're digging through the wreckage, learning as much as they can about the Monday afternoon helicopter crash that killed two people.
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.
The helicopter was assisting with a prescribed burn near the Harrison County/Stone County line when it suddenly crashed into a wooded area off Highway 67. Nearby witnesses said right before the crash, they heard the helicopter overhead, and it sounded like it was having engine troubles.
Rescue crews rushed one victim to an ambulance, and then to a Life Flight helicopter. At last check, that person was in serious condition at USA Medical Center in Mobile, Alabama.