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The Washington tree fruit industry is mourning the loss of 48-year-old Michael Monson, president of Monson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Mr. Monson was aboard a helicopter in a remote area of British Columbia on a company fishing trip when the helicopter suddenly crashed near Bute Inlet into the Homatico River. The accident occurred April 13 at around 4:30 p.m., shortly after take-off.

Search-and-rescue personnel were on the scene by 8:30 p.m. Five other individuals escaped the accident without life-threatening injuries and were taken to an area hospital for treatment. It appears that Mr. Monson became trapped in the wreckage and couldn't escape.

Monson Fruit Co. began operations in 1987. Today, the company grows cherries on more than 3,000 acres in Washington, Oregon and Montana. Apples are grown on 500 acres in Washington each year. Monson Fruit and its sister company, Blue Bird, produce 5,000 bins of pears each year in the Pacific Northwest.

Mr. Monson was born in Provo, UT. He is survived by his wife, Julie Monson; sons Jack and Marcus Monson; daughter Katelyn Monson; mother Charlotte Barmore; brothers Eric, Chris and Matt Monson; and sisters Anna Wing and Kathy Monson.