Mark Shook was among the most expert pilots of rotorcraft -- a helicopter-like vehicle sometimes called a gyroplane -- in the Rocky Mountain region. He was president of the Colorado Rotorcraft Association and had been flying for many years. So it was a shock to the entire rotorcraft community when he was identified as one of two victims in a tragic accident that took place in Western Colorado this weekend. Videos, details and more below.
The CRA website includes photos and videos of rotorcraft in action. Here's an example from 2011....
...as well as a 2010 clip featuring Shook speaking alongside a craft that looks very much like the yellow Xenon gyroplane that crashed:
Shook, a 61-year-old whose online profile lists him as having been a member of the Popular Rotorcraft Association since 1973, also shared spectacular photos taken from his vehicle. Here are three examples from 2010, shot during a flight over Denver:
Despite his level of experience, however, Shook got into trouble early Saturday evening. At 6:18 p.m., according to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, multiple parties reported the crash of what it described as an ultralight helicopter over a stretch of the Colorado River near Fruita, a community a short distance from Grand Junction on the Western Slope.
Two bodies were recovered from the wreckage, and yesterday, according to the Associated Press, the Mesa County coroner's office identified the victims as Shook, who lived in the community of Peyton, and Grand Junction's Rebecca Jane Molle, fifty.
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He's said to have died of multiple injuries, while Molle's official cause of death was drowning.
The crash, which caused power outages throughout the area, is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Board, the AP notes. In the meantime, our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Shook and Molle.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.