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All three people aboard a helicopter were killed after it snagged a power line and crashed Monday in rural western Colorado, authorities said.
The three-person crew was on a routine flight inspecting power lines south of Silt, about 50 miles northeast of Grand Junction, when their helicopter went down about 11:18 a.m. (1:18 p.m. ET), the Garfield County Sheriff's Office said.
Only the pilot was identified Monday — Doug Sheffer, the owner of DBS Helicopters, based in the town of Rifle, whom Sheriff Lou Vallario called "a top-notch pilot and good friend."
Vallario told the Post Independent newspaper of nearby Glenwood Springs that Sheffer often worked with local authorities in search-and-rescue missions in the region's rugged mountains.
"Because of Doug, we were able to rescue many people that we might not otherwise have been able to," Vallario told the newspaper. "He is definitely going to be missed."
The identities of the two other victims weren't released pending notification of their families, but DBS helicopters employed only three people, according to its website, which said Sheffer had more then 8,000 hours of experience of mountain flying.
Weather conditions Monday in Silt were cloudy with light winds and visibility of nine miles.