BOZEMAN, Mont. - A Bozeman pilot's been identified as the man who died in a helicopter crash near Thompson Falls in northwest Montana on Saturday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Todd Hanawalt was in a helicopter with two other passengers, conducting a survey of power lines for a company Saturday afternoon.
One of the passengers told the NTSB the helicopter suddenly went out of control and crashed, killing Hanawalt. The two other passengers were injured.
Hanawalt lived in Bozeman and was a member of the Summit Air Ambulance in Belgrade.
They released a statement on their Facebook page, saying "Todd was a great pilot, coworker, friend, and brother. Those that survived credit Todd with selfless and heroic actions for their survival. He will be missed by everyone who ever met him."
The national Summit Air Ambulance said this in a press release:
"It is with incredibly deep sadness that we inform you that a member of the Summit Air Ambulance family passed away yesterday. Bozeman helicopter pilot Todd Hanawalt died yesterday while engaged in utility work for another company in an area outside of Thompson Falls, Montana. Details of the incident are unknown at this time."
"Our heartfelt condolences go out to Todd's family, friends and co-workers and they will all be in our thoughts and prayers throughout this difficult time. Todd was truly loved by all who knew him and he will forever be honored and remembered for his selfless dedication to serving people in need. Todd was a hero. We will miss him."
"Our CEO, Monty Gallegos, arrived in Montana last night to provide support to Todd's family and our Bozeman team. More information will be provided as it becomes available."
"Todd was a brother to all of us and words cannot express our sorrow."
The NTSB and Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel declined to identify the other passengers, their employer or the owner of the helicopter.
The NTSB continues to investigate the incident.