Seven Oregon firefighters killed in crash

Seven Oregon firefighters killed in crash
The seven Oregon firefighters who died Tuesday along with a pilot and a Forest Service employee. Three firefighters and a pilot survived the crash. Photos of firefighters courtesy of Grayback Forestry. Helicopter photograph from Inciweb.org.

MERLIN, Ore. -- Ten Grayback Forestry firefighters were on board when a helicopter went down near Junction City, Calif., on Aug. 5.

Three of the 10 survived and are still hospitalized.

Seven of the firefighters are missing and are presumed to have perished in the crash. 

Grayback Forestry officials spent Wednesday notifying families of the missing firefighters.

As of Friday morning, all seven of the families had been notified.

The following are the names, faces, ages and towns of residence for the seven Oregon firefighters presumed dead following the accident. Photographs courtesy of Grayback Forestry.



Steven Renno, 22, of Cave Junction, Ore.



Shawn Blazer, 30, from Medford, Ore.

Scott Charlson, 25, from Phoenix, Ore.
Read his younger brother's memories of Scott



Matthew Hammer, 23, from Grants Pass, Ore.



Edrik Gomez, 19, from Ashland, Ore.



Bryan Rich, 29, from Medford, Ore.
Read his family's remembrance of Bryan



David Steele, 19, from Ashland, Ore.

Do you know any of these men? Tell us about them.

“We are devastated by this,” says Mike Wheelock, owner of Grayback Forestry. “We train long and hard to make sure our crews are safe on the fire line. This kind of tragedy is something you just can’t plan for.”

The remainder of the affected crew who served with the missing men are due to arrive back to the Medford base this week.

All Grayback resources from the Iron Complex are en route back to their home base. No crews remain on the fire.

According to UC Davis Medical Center, Michael Brown’s condition is fair. Jonathon Frohreich remains in serious condition and Rick Schroeder remains in critical condition.

Two Oregon men were piloting the helicopter.

Carson Helicopters of Grants Pass said Thursday that 54-year-old Roark Schwanenberg of Lostine in northeastern Oregon was one of two pilots and listed as missing. Federal officials said Thursday it was all but certain that the missing were dead.

The other pilot is William Coultas of Cave Junction. He was seriously injured.

The ninth to die was a U.S. Forest Service employee who was not identified, but described as a pilot inspector.