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Six months after US Highland lost three members of its executive team in a tragic small-plane accident, the American company has announced that it will be idling its Tulsa plant while it continues to finish its latest round of funding. Despite this news, US Highland is reportedly close to achieving its fundraising goals, and hopes to have production rolling again once the fundraising is complete.

The Southbridge Advisory Group (SAG) has been brought in to help find a new executive team for US Highland, and is also helping the motorcycle manufacturer find new investors. While any one of these goals would be a large undertaking on its own, having to contend both with raising capital and finding a new executive team is a daunting task.

On Saturday night, three executives from US Highland died in a tragic plane crash just outside of Tulsa International Airport. Company Founder Mats Malmberg, Director of Operations Damian Rossich, and COO Chase Bales were all on-board the aircraft, which reported fuel problems just before crashing half a mile from the airport. The twin-engined Cesna belonged to Bales, who was presumably flying the aircraft when it crashed. This news is a tragedy for US Highland and the motorcycle industry at large. Our condolences go out to the Malmberg, Rossich, and Bales families and loved ones. Souce: Fox 23 via Plugbike

Oklahoma powersports startup US Highland recently announced they have one or two deals in the works. First they have a “tentative agreement” with a “global OEM” to license their motor technology. They are also discussing a deal to build bikes for a company to rebrand. It is unclear if the “global OEM” interested in their engines is the same one looking to rebrand the Highland machines.

However, both deals could bring US Highland from it’s original plan of building 700 motorcycles in 2010 and 1500 motorcycles next year to 20,000 units per year by 2012. To accommodate this growth US Highland will hire 200 to 300 people at their Oklahoma headquarters by the end of 2010. Hear more about US Highland and see the full press release after the break.