YAKIMA, Wash.- A deadly helicopter crash at the Yakima River Canyon kills Rocky Spencer, a veteran wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. We're told Spencer accidentally walked into rotating blades of a sitting helicopter Saturday afternoon.
Department officials say Spencer was with a team assigned to relocate bighorn sheep from private property in the canyon to a research facility for Washington State University in Pullman.
Department officials say Spencer had flown on wildlife helicopters before, but this time the craft came to rest on slanted ground, causing the rotor blades to point downward more than usual. The blades hit him when he stepped out of the helicopter. Spencer was based out of King County- and had worked with the agency since 1978.