Mike Fournier began competing in CrossFit in 2012. He competed at the 2013 CrossFit Games in the 45-49 Masters division where he scaled the podium with a third place finish. On August 19th, while piloting a Bell UH-1H helicopter to perform water drops over a brush fires in the Central California Hills, the aircraft crashed around 10am. Fournier was the only person aboard the aircraft and unfortunately did not survive. He was 52 years old.
According to the Daily Bulletin, a “14-member search-and-rescue team spent more than six hours and used bulldozers in order to reach the crash site, west of Highway 33.” The crews removed the body of the Rancho Cucamonga native from the crash site and wrapped him in an American flag. Fournier was identified by the Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner Office. The cause of the crash is unknown.
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Fournier worked as a helicopter pilot for two decades and “recently began contracting with Cal Fire to fight wildfires.” According to a phone call with friend and former classmate Craig Evans, Fournier “was excited about working on wildfires” as he was “moving into firefighting”.
CrossFit Games’ Instagram page shared the tragic news earlier today with a statement from Director of the CrossFit Games Dave Castro:
Mike Fournier was a CrossFit Games Masters athlete who once took 3rd in the masters division at the Games in Carson. He passed away yesterday in a helicopter crash fighting the fires that are going on in California. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters. Rest In Peace Mike.
Fournier is survived by his wife and two daughters, age 16 and 19. A GoFundMe has been set up with a fundraising goal of $200,000. At the time of this article, nearly $100,000 has been raised from over one thousand donors.
Feature image via CrossFit Games Instagram page: @crossfitgames