Fatal Occurrence 2011C1660
Transportation Safety Board begins investigation into fatal chopper crash
Bill Fortie – May. 21 2011
Transportation Safety Board officials are at the scene of a helicopter crash near Slave Lake that claimed the life of a male pilot.
The helicopter pilot died on Friday afternoon after his chopper went down in the waters of Lesser Slave Lake, a short distance away from where crews have been battling massive wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes in the Town of Slave Lake.
The pilot, who was the only one on board, has not been identified. Police said the man was declared dead at the scene of the crash.
Lorne Lukan just happened to be walking near the lake as the helicopter fell into the water. "A chopper came over, he went to go into a hover and he just tipped right sideways. By the time I got down there the fire crews were already there -- like amazing in 15 minutes," he told CTV News.
Officials say rescue attempts resulted in a number of emergency workers receiving hypothermia. "They were treated for mild hypothermia," said incident commander Len Maccharles. "There were 12 firefighters in the water," he added.
The Transportation Safety Board says the chopper was owned by Campbell Helicopters based out of Abbotsford, B.C. The chopper was assisting with fire control in the area. The province says the helicopter and pilot were under contract to Sustainable Resource Development.
There is no word yet on when crews will be able to pull the chopper from out of the water.