LEAVITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A helicopter that crashed in a federal wetlands in Oceana County in December, killing one man and injuring another, was retrieved over the weekend in a multi-step process.
Pilot Thomas Slocum of Hart died and passenger Matt Williams was injured in the Dec. 1 crash in Leavitt Township, near Walkerville, about 55 miles from Grand Rapids. Slocum was 49.
Williams, 28, was able to call 911 and gave dispatchers his approximate location. A U.S. Coast Guard Rescue helicopter and an Aero Med helicopter were sent to help locate the crash.
Parts of the helicopter could be seen in a swamp, but because of the difficult terrain and woods, rescuers had to walk across two streams of knee-deep water and navigate through trees and logs to reach the crash site.
Then, the rescue workers hand-carried the victims more than 1,000 feet to reach a spot where the all-terrain vehicles could maneuver, approximately two miles from 168th Avenue.
The helicopter remained there until the two-day retrieval began Saturday.
Family members hired White Lake Excavating & Eagle Towing, the Oceana County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. A mini-excavator pulled a custom-built sled, pulled the helicopter out of the mud onto the sled, and dragged it back.
The cause of the crash is unknown, and the Federal Aviation Administration planned to finish its investigation after the wreckage was retrieved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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