Sunset High grad dies in Peru helicopter crash

Darrel W. Birkes, who fished each summer with his brother is seen here in Alaska July 2011, died at the age of 62 in a helicopter crash in Peru on Monday. Birkes was born in Tigard and grew up in Beaverton, graduating from Sunset High School. He worked for nearly 30 years for Columbia Helicopters. Photo courtesy Marvin Birkes


by KGW Staff

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Posted on January 9, 2013 at 1:18 PM

BEAVERTON -- One of seven men who died Monday in a helicopter crash in Peru was a graduate of Sunset High School in Beaverton.

Darrel Birkes was a master rigger for Columbia Helicopters of Aurora, which was in the country for petroleum exploration.

More: 2 from NW die in helicopter crash in Peru

His brother Marvin Birkes said that he got a call this week from Columbia and he missed it. It gave him a nagging feeling that something must be wrong.  He later learned that his brother had died in the helicopter crash.

Darrel grew up in around Tigard and Beaverton, Marvin said. He returned home every summer for a month to catch up with family, Marvin said. His brother was an avid outdoorsman and very generous. He always loved spending time in Peru.

"Money wasn't a big thing for him. If you liked it and he had it, it was yours," Marvin said.

The crash was not how his brother's life was supposed to end, Marvin said. The helicopter apparently caught fire and some of the crew members tried to jump out.

Marvin plans to visit Peru with crash investigators, not so much to find out what happened, but to experience why his brother loved Peru so much.

"He was everybody's friend," Marvin said. "He was my friend . . . I'll miss him greatly."