Fatal Occurrence 2009Q1394
Nunavik chopper crash victims found
Military searchers, as well as Canadian Rangers in Quebec's northerly Nunavik region, had been searching for the men, who never arrived as planned July 17 on a flight from Kangirsuk to Kangiqsujjuaq, Que.
The aircraft is owned by Canadian Helicopters. The names of the men were not released, but one of them was identified earlier this week as a Gander, N.L., man, in his mid-30s, who was employed by the helicopter company.
On Thursday afternoon, Canadian Rangers in a boat spotted the helicopter upside-down in a ravine about 290 kilometres northwest of Kuujjuaq, Que. Both occupants were dead at the scene.
At the time of the discovery, the Rangers — a reserve unit of the Canadian Forces — were searching the coast between Quaqtaq and Kangirsuk.
Air search covered large area
Search officials with the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., had been overseeing aerial and nautical searches for the helicopter over the past six days.
Three Hercules aircraft were involved in the search, as well as an Aurora patrol plane from Greenwood, N.S., a Comorant helicopter from Gander, N.L., and a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter that was operating in the area.
The air searches covered an area spanning about 112 kilometres by 50 kilometres, Capt. Mark Peebles, a Canadian Forces spokesman in Trenton.
"It was a very big area that was patrolled very extensively for a very long time, and thankfully, the Canadian Rangers were able to discover it," Peebles said late Thursday.
The Canadian Rangers began searching on Wednesday, even though the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre had not formally asked them to get involved.
While it took the Rangers only a day and a half to locate the missing helicopter, Peebles said he's not sure if the outcome would have been different had the local reservists been deployed earlier.
"The Rangers are very good at what they do," he said. "They're very valuable when search and rescue areas are very localized.
"At the time, when the search area was being set up, due to the nature of the terrain and due to the size of the search area, the JRCC determined that air assets were the best assets to be used at that time."