A spokesman for the of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department has reported that a helicopter was forced to land in the Clark Fork River.

The helicopter splashed down at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Friday June 28.

"The helicopter didn't crash per se, but it just had mechanical issues and had to land in the river," said Missoula County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone. "This occurred by Big Flat Road and the Wagon Wheel trailer court on the west side of town. The pilot was able to land the helicopter safely in the river. The helicopter was privately owned by either Hillcrest or Hillview Aviation and the pilot was not injured whatsoever."

The helicopter is described as a Bell helicopter model 206L-3 and is orange and white in color.

Brent Christofferson of the Missoula Rural Fire District said that the pilot had to be rescued from the helicopter because of the swift current. The current made it difficult for crews to access the accident site.

The helicopter was not leaking fuel into the water. It had received damage and was unable to take flight again. A wrecker from Red's towing was requested to help retrieve the helicopter.

Brent Christofferson