Fatal Occurrence 2011C3782
No faulty engine in fatal Alta. chopper crash: investigators
Pamela Roth – October 6, 2011
EDMONTON — It appears there was nothing wrong with the engine of a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter before it fell from the sky and crashed into a farmer's field Wednesday evening, according to investigators.
Officials with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) spent much of Thursday combing through the wreckage from Wednesday evening's deadly crash, about 1 km southeast of the Drayton Valley, Alta., airport.
The crash killed the male pilot -- the only person on board the single-engine helicopter -- which originated from the Whitecourt Airport and was destined for Drayton Valley.
RCMP are not releasing the man's name or the company involved in the crash. Witnesses in the area reported heavy fog at the time the chopper went down.
Chris Krepski, spokesman for the TSB, said the helicopter suffered a severe impact and was "quite destroyed."
Although the investigation has just begun, he said officials believe nothing was wrong with the engine and will be taking the chopper's flight instruments for further examination. "The engine appeared to be making full power at the time of the accident," said Krepski.
Rotoworks Inc., a helicopter flight training school based in Whitecourt, Atal., was familiar with the pilot and said he worked as an independent.
The company said the man was not from Whitecourt, and declined to provide further comment on whether the helicopter belonged to them.
Investigators will spend the next several days talking with those who may have been in contact with the pilot or operator prior to the crash, getting the pilot's training and experience, and records about the aircraft's maintenance.
"We are going to continue to gather information and assess what we are going to do with this next," said Krepski, who noted it could take up to a year to complete such an investigation. "We need to take the time necessary to ensure that we have the information we need."
Drayton Valley is about 147 km from Edmonton.