The wreckage of the Beaver Lake helicopter has been recovered, the Transportation Safety Board announced.
“TSTB investigators will continue to work with British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation to determine the cause of the accident,” the TSB said in a release.
STB concluded the investigation into the Crash into the basket with a trailer. All 4 occupants were removed from the aircraft within 24 hours of the crash.
Initial Report , MEMO-R-017-23-0010 (Director of Inquiry, May 24, 2018) https://t.co/P7Grte6LjQ https://t.co/7dC0YJT6Pq — Safety Board of BC (@TSB_bc) June 26, 2018
A three-person crew on a helicopter from his company’s B.C. campus is believed to have been travelling to a helicopter base near Tofino when they crashed into a remote mountain on a remote rural road.
The helicopter plunged to the tundra about three kilometres from the town of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island’s west coast about 80 kilometres east of Tofino.
The crew reported the helicopter was “running low on fuel” shortly before they hit the ice before 2:30 p.m. local time, and minutes later radioed they were in trouble and that they were not going to make it to the landing zone.
They had been in flight only six minutes before they reported they were “running low on fuel” and said they could not make it to the airport.
Four men were believed to be on board the helicopter, which included pilot and chief instructor from Harbour Air, of Port Alberni, B.C. The men did not respond to radio calls on the crash site.
In a statement posted to the company’s website on Wednesday, the company’s CEO said the men’s bodies would be returned to the B.C. coast for a “thorough and dignified family screening.”
“We will await the final wishes of the family before we release the bodies and share with them the full information and findings,” Kent Inglesby wrote.
Recovery operations were suspended for the night, but weather conditions will be reviewed on Thursday, the TSB said in a news release on Wednesday night.
The TSB has said it could take up to two years to determine exactly what caused the crash.
The cause of the crash is also being investigated by B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch.
For two days, authorities had searched for the wreckage with a police helicopter, remotely operated vehicles, four-wheel drive vehicles and a snowmobile.
Around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Emergency Response Team members and search dogs located a 3-by-2-metre debris field in the mud and ice. A police helicopter was also used to survey the site.
The wreckage was found on the front end of the single-engine pilot aircraft, which was heavily damaged, possibly due to several boreholes drilled near the crash site. The gas pipes also appear to have been fully severed or punctured from the impact, the TSB said.
Helicopter padgers did not hear any engine noise before they went to work at around 8 a.m. Tuesday and found that the aircraft had lost altitude and was still flying around in the snow on the open ice on a fly zone on the B.C. side of the Bering Sea.
A disaster response protocol was activated in Tofino and incident command was established with support from the Tofino Volunteer Search and Rescue and the RCMP.
Monday’s crash was the third to occur on the west coast of Vancouver Island over the past year.
In May, a chopper died in Tofino after losing engine power as it prepared to land in a cove.
In January, a sightseeing helicopter that flew over from Alaska to set a land speed record on Vancouver Island collided with a light sport aircraft in Tofino’s narrow shipping channel and crashed. The two people on board the sightseeing aircraft were killed and the pilot of the other aircraft suffered minor injuries.
In April 2017, two people died in a small plane crash on Vancouver Island as they flew over Stewart River on the northern end of Vancouver Island.
More to come.
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