William Steven Inkelbarger

An Army helicopter from Fort Carson crashed after rescuing a fallen rock climber in Park County on Saturday, September 4 1982, killing the climber and all four crew members.

The Army MAST helicopter had responded to a 2pm call from Park County authorities to rescue a climber who had fallen from a cliff to a rock ledge in Eleven Mile Canyon.

The chopper, carrying a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and medical technician, extricated the climber and was starting out of the area when the crash occurred at about 4pm in a wooded area five miles west of Lake George, CO on Eleven Mile Canyon Road.

The chopper blades struck the top of a tree, sending the craft careening into the canyon’s granite wall. The craft flipped over and crashed onto its top.

Capt Dave Childers, public affairs officer for the 4th Infantry Division, said the UH-1 helicopter exploded on impact or shortly thereafter and was engulfed in flames.

A second MAST helicopter was sent to the area to search for survivors, but none was found. A team from a Fort Carson aviation unit was dispatched to recover the bodies. The four Army victims were identified as Major Richard C Bulliner, Capt William S Inklebarger, PFC Mark R Welch and SSgt Gregg A Penn. The climber was identified as Patrick Roger Pennington, 17, of Colorado Springs, CO, who had been climbing with several friends.

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