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According to U.S. National Transportation Safety Board records, in October 1996 a Columbia Helicopters Boeing Vertol BV-107 lost control during a maintenance check flight and crashed three miles from the Aurora, Oregon airport, killing both pilots and the onboard mechanic. The NTSB listed a maintenance failure as the probable cause.
In addition to petroleum exploration, Columbia Helicopters provides services to industries including logging, construction and fighting wildfires, according to its website.
It bills itself as "the only operator of the commercial models of the CH-47 Chinook and H-46 Sea Knight helicopters."
Associated Press Writer Carla Salazar contributed to this report.
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