ATV accident kills 2 firefighters

Two Medford firefighters died when their all-terrain vehicle tumbled 2,000 feet down a grassy slope on the west side of Johns Peak near Jacksonville, police have confirmed.

They expect to name the men later today.

The men were riding in the area Thursday afternoon, and searchers recovered their ATV, a 4-wheeled Polaris Razor, from the bottom of a grassy slope in the Forest Creek drainage this morning, said Sheriff Mike Winters.

Search and rescue crews from Jackson, Klamath and Josephine counties joined in the search, along with firefighters from most Southern Oregon districts.

The men were due to return from their ride about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Family members began searching shortly after that, and search and rescue crews were called to start looking for them around 9 p.m., said Winters.

When they weren’t found overnight, five helicopters joined the effort at dawn this morning, and a grid search was set up on the ground.

The ATV was spotted from one of the helicopters, Winters said, and medics were lowered from the helicopter to the scene.

— Staff reports

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