SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday (Wednesday) issued the following statement regarding the deaths of Clu Cotter of Fresno, Kevin O’Connor of Fresno, Tom Stolberg of Fresno and Mike Donovan of Palm Springs: “Maria and I were deeply saddened to learn of this tragic accident and the passing of these four men. All were devoted to their jobs and we are grateful for their dedicated service to our state. On behalf of all Californians, we send our deepest condolences to their loved ones during this difficult time.”

Cotter, 48; O’Connor, 40; Stolberg, 31; and Donovan,70, died yesterday after the helicopter they were flying in crashed in a remote part of Madera County, while performing a routine aerial survey of deer populations. Cotter, an associate biologist; O’Connor, a senior biologist supervisor; and Stolberg, a scientific aide, worked for the Department of Fish and Game. Donovan was a pilot with the Landells Aviation.

In honor of the victims, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.