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Pilot Dies In Marion County Helicopter Crash

Marion County Sheriff's Office

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said a 65-year-old helicopter pilot died Friday when his aircraft crash-landed near Mehama, in rural eastern Marion County.

Officials said Terry Harchenko of Salem was spraying a Christmas tree field prior to the crash. There were no other people in the helicopter.

Investigators are still trying to determine what led to the incident.

According to a business registry kept by the Oregon Secretary of State, Harchenko was the president of Salem-based Industrial Aircraft, Inc.

Oregon is the leading grower of Christmas trees in the United States. Helicopters are often used in the production and harvest of the crop.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”