Team leader recalls tragedy during prescribed burn - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Team leader recalls tragedy during prescribed burn

Jay Boykin admitted it's been difficult getting back in the woods on a prescribed burn. But, he said, that's the job. And it's a job that comes with potential dangers.  (Photo source: WLOX) Jay Boykin admitted it's been difficult getting back in the woods on a prescribed burn. But, he said, that's the job. And it's a job that comes with potential dangers. (Photo source: WLOX)
  • Inside WLOX.comMore>>

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

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

    Tuesday, March 31 2015 8:11 PM EDT2015-04-01 00:11:51 GMT
    Wednesday, April 1 2015 6:54 AM EDT2015-04-01 10:54:07 GMT
    Aviation investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are interviewing witnesses and studying the crash site to try and determine what caused the fatal helicopter crash in the Desoto National Forest that killed two men and critically injured a third. But pinpointing the exact cause of the accident, could take up to a year or longer.More >>

    Aviation investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are interviewing witnesses and studying the crash site to try and determine what caused the fatal helicopter crash in the Desoto National Forest that killed two men and critically injured a third. But pinpointing the exact cause of the accident, could take up to a year or longer.

    More >>
  • Firefighters rally around U.S. Forest Service in wake of fatal helicopter crash

    Firefighters rally around U.S. Forest Service in wake of fatal helicopter crash

    Tuesday, March 31 2015 7:38 PM EDT2015-03-31 23:38:52 GMT
    Wednesday, April 1 2015 10:31 AM EDT2015-04-01 14:31:02 GMT
    Firefighters across the country are rallying around the U.S. Forest Service to offer their help and prayers. Several members of the U.S. Forest Service said they are truly amazed at the outpouring of support.More >>
    Firefighters across the country are rallying around the U.S. Forest Service to offer their help and prayers. Several members of the U.S. Forest Service said they are truly amazed at the outpouring of support.More >>
  • Breaking

    NTSB: No one actually saw deadly helicopter crash

    NTSB: No one actually saw deadly helicopter crash

    Tuesday, April 14 2015 10:00 AM EDT2015-04-14 14:00:48 GMT
    Tuesday, April 14 2015 2:55 PM EDT2015-04-14 18:55:28 GMT
    A new report on the investigation into a deadly helicopter crash in Harrison County last month reveals none of the witnesses actually saw the crash. The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board said multiple people were in contact with the helicopter from the ground during the controlled burn operation, but they only heard the accident happen.More >>
    A new report on the investigation into a deadly helicopter crash in Harrison County last month reveals none of the witnesses actually saw the crash. The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board said multiple people were in contact with the helicopter from the ground during the controlled burn operation, but they only heard the accident happen.More >>
  • Man killed in helicopter crash laid to rest in Wiggins

    Man killed in helicopter crash laid to rest in Wiggins

    Saturday, April 4 2015 2:40 PM EDT2015-04-04 18:40:35 GMT
    Saturday, April 4 2015 3:55 PM EDT2015-04-04 19:55:15 GMT
    Steve Cobb is laid to rest. (Photo source: WLOX)Steve Cobb is laid to rest. (Photo source: WLOX)
    Steve Cobb was laid to rest Saturday. More >>
    Steve Cobb was laid to rest Saturday. More >>
  • Steve Cobb leaves a legacy of hard work and dedication

    Steve Cobb leaves a legacy of hard work and dedication

    Friday, April 3 2015 10:25 PM EDT2015-04-04 02:25:10 GMT
    Saturday, April 4 2015 10:49 AM EDT2015-04-04 14:49:10 GMT
    It is clear that Steve Cobb made an impression as a person and a professional way beyond the borders of his hometown of Wiggins. What was also clear is that he will leave a legacy of hard work and dedication to church and family.More >>
    It is clear that Steve Cobb made an impression as a person and a professional way beyond the borders of his hometown of Wiggins. What was also clear is that he will leave a legacy of hard work and dedication to church and family.More >>
  • Family, friends of Steve Cobb grieve in Wiggins

    Family, friends of Steve Cobb grieve in Wiggins

    Friday, April 3 2015 6:01 PM EDT2015-04-03 22:01:01 GMT
    Friday, April 3 2015 6:01 PM EDT2015-04-03 22:01:02 GMT
    The visitation for Steve Cobb and his family began Friday afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Wiggins. Cobb, and Brandon Ricks died Monday when the helicopter they were riding in crashed. Those two and another man on board were all while working a prescribed burn.More >>
    The visitation for Steve Cobb and his family began Friday afternoon at the First Baptist Church in Wiggins. Cobb, and Brandon Ricks died Monday when the helicopter they were riding in crashed. Those two and another man on board were all while working a prescribed burn.More >>
  • Wiggins resident killed in helicopter crash loved the outdoors

    Wiggins resident killed in helicopter crash loved the outdoors

    Wednesday, April 1 2015 9:54 PM EDT2015-04-02 01:54:17 GMT
    Thursday, April 2 2015 6:54 AM EDT2015-04-02 10:54:09 GMT
    Steve Cobb loved the outdoors. He grew up on the family farm on Wallace Cobb Road in Wiggins. He raised cattle. He grew vegetables. He liked to hunt, and he loved to hike in the mountains. But on Monday, he, along with Brandon Ricks of Oklahoma, died when the helicopter in which they were riding crashed in the DeSoto National Forest while working a controlled burn.More >>
    Steve Cobb loved the outdoors. He grew up on the family farm on Wallace Cobb Road in Wiggins. He raised cattle. He grew vegetables. He liked to hunt, and he loved to hike in the mountains. But on Monday, he, along with Brandon Ricks of Oklahoma, died when the helicopter in which they were riding crashed in the DeSoto National Forest while working a controlled burn.More >>
  • Neighbors never heard a crash, but wondered if something was wrong with helicopter

    Neighbors never heard a crash, but wondered if something was wrong with helicopter

    Monday, March 30 2015 11:23 PM EDT2015-03-31 03:23:15 GMT
    Tuesday, March 31 2015 6:54 AM EDT2015-03-31 10:54:06 GMT
    There are only a handful of homes within a few miles of the site in Harrison County where a helicopter went down Monday afternoon killing two people on board and injuring a third. Surprisingly, none of those who live nearby said they heard a loud noise or even knew a helicopter had crashed. Some did, however, say there was one thing they thought was kind of odd.More >>
    There are only a handful of homes within a few miles of the site in Harrison County where a helicopter went down Monday afternoon killing two people on board and injuring a third. Surprisingly, none of those who live nearby said they heard a loud noise or even knew a helicopter had crashed. Some did, however, say there was one thing they thought was kind of odd.More >>
  • Investigators working into the night at site of fatal crash

    Investigators working into the night at site of fatal crash

    Monday, March 30 2015 4:19 PM EDT2015-03-30 20:19:32 GMT
    Monday, March 30 2015 8:33 PM EDT2015-03-31 00:33:01 GMT
    Two people died Monday afternoon when a helicopter working a controlled burn crashed in Harrison County. Another person is in critical condition after being airlifted to USA Medical Center in Mobile, AL. Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said all three people were members of the U.S. Forest Service.More >>
    Two people died Monday afternoon when a helicopter working a controlled burn crashed in Harrison County. Another person is in critical condition after being airlifted to USA Medical Center in Mobile, AL. Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said all three people were members of the U.S. Forest Service.More >>
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

A tragic helicopter crash, a miraculous survivor, and heroic efforts from a U.S. Forest Service crew. Thursday, for the first time publicly, the team leader on last month's prescribed burn talked with WLOX News about the tragedy.

Jay Boykin worked a prescribed burn Thursday morning, one of the first since that helicopter went down one month ago. He said that day, his crew had to quickly transition from prescribed burn to aviation incident.

"Everything was going exactly as planned; the burn was going very well. No indications at all of any issues or problems with the helicopter or from the crew," said Boykin.

That all changed in an instant. Seconds after watching the chopper overhead, Boykin heard something strange.

"Kind of like maybe if you took an air hose and pulled it loose from an air tank. It was a little unusual. And then just within two seconds, it was the sound of metal hitting trees. It was all very sudden. Just within an instant or two. I did hear the crash, and it happened in just a couple seconds," he recalled.

Thankfully and amazingly, one of the three man helicopter crew survived the crash. Not only that, but Brendan Mullen somehow managed to walk from the wreckage to a nearby road, despite his severe burns and fractures.

"Six or seven hundred feet, uphill, through the prescribed burn. So, you're absolutely right. It was nothing short of miraculous. And I think he recognizes that maybe he wasn't on his own making it out," said Boykin.

The survivor's walk from the woods gave Boykin's crew a good idea where they'd find the crash site.

"The crew that we sent in to find the helicopter, in just a few minutes they were able to locate the ship and advised me it would be a recovery operation, rather than a rescue," he said.

Jay Boykin admitted it's been difficult getting back in the woods on a prescribed burn. But, he said, that's the job. And it's a job that comes with potential dangers. Plus, he said for him, it's part of the healing process.

"This is what we do. And getting back to doing what we do, our normal routine, is one of the things we wanted to accomplish by getting back out here," he explained.

The U.S. Forest Service has not yet made a decision to continue using helicopters on prescribed burns.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Team leader recalls tragedy during prescribed burnMore>>

  • Lone survivor in helicopter crash tells family members of horrifying events

    Lone survivor in helicopter crash tells family members of horrifying events

    Thursday, April 2 2015 10:53 PM EDT2015-04-03 02:53:59 GMT
    Friday, April 3 2015 6:55 AM EDT2015-04-03 10:55:06 GMT
    The lone survivor of Monday's fatal helicopter crash continues to recover at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. Brendan Mullen is in the burn unit of the center and preparing for more surgery and has been upgraded to serious condition. Family members who have gathered to be with him tell of a horrific situation as the helicopter went down in DeSoto National Forest on Monday.More >>
    The lone survivor of Monday's fatal helicopter crash continues to recover at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. Brendan Mullen is in the burn unit of the center and preparing for more surgery and has been upgraded to serious condition. Family members who have gathered to be with him tell of a horrific situation as the helicopter went down in DeSoto National Forest on Monday.More >>
Powered by Frankly