MERLIN, Ore. (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service has temporarily suspended its contract with Merlin-based Carson Helicopters Inc., whose Sikorsky S-61N helicopter crashed Aug. 5 in Northern California, killing nine people, eight of them from Oregon.


The Medford Mail-Tribune reported the suspension followed a determination that the firm's 10 helicopters contracted to the agency did not meet contract requirements.

Susan Prentiss, branch chief for incident support contracting at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, cited "a discrepancy in the weight," but would not elaborate.

All of Carson's helicopters were contracted to the agency. Five carried water to suppress fires and five carried crews.

Prentiss said the suspension is not linked to the fatal crash.

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