‘Profound grief and sorrow’: Investigation into fatal Terrace helicopter crash begins

Click to play video: 'Investigation into deadly Terrace heli-skiing crash begins'
Investigation into deadly Terrace heli-skiing crash begins
We're learning more tonight about a devasting helicopter crash in northern B.C. that left three dead and another four injured. Italian media are reporting the majority of those on board were international travellers, and as Cassidy Mosconi reports, it was one of those passengers who called for help. – Jan 23, 2024

An investigation is underway into how a helicopter crashed in northern B.C. Monday afternoon, killing three people on board.

Four other people, on board the aircraft, were taken to the hospital. They were then moved to hospitals on the South Coast for higher levels of care. Two of the patients are in critical condition, two are in serious condition, John Forrest, owner of Northern Escape Heli Skiing, said at a press conference Tuesday.

The aircraft crashed in the mountains north of Terrace, sometime around 4 p.m. Monday.

Forrest said they are still in the process of identifying the next of kin for those killed in the crash.

Two of the victims have been named by Italian media as Heiner Junior Oberrauch and Andreas Widmann.

“It’s impossible to put into words the profound grief and sorrow that our guests and staff share right now,” he said.

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“We hope you’ll respect the privacy of those impacted at this extremely difficult time. Currently, our focus is on providing assistance and support to those who have been impacted, our guests and our staff remain our top priority.”

Click to play video: 'Heli ski operators provides update on B.C. crash that killed 3'
Heli ski operators provides update on B.C. crash that killed 3

Forrest said there were three heli-skiing aircraft operating in the area, which are contracted from SkyLine Helicopters in Kelowna.

“All of our scheduled communications were happening according to our protocols,” he added. “During the time between calls, we received radio communications from one of our guests on one of our guest radios that the incident had occurred. At that time we activated our rescue protocells including immediately ceasing all skiing activities and activating search and rescue.”

Forrest said it was one of the guests on the helicopter that crashed that radioed for help.

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He added that the guests had not heli-skied with them before but they were experienced heli-skiers.

“At the moment it’s unclear what the cause of the incident was,” Forrest said.

“We are working closely with the RCMP, TSB, WorkSafeBC and other authorities to support the investigation and look into the cause of the incident.”

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) confirms a team has been deployed to the region to investigate.

Click to play video: 'Heli-skiing crash reported in mountains near Terrace'
Heli-skiing crash reported in mountains near Terrace

Const. Brett Urano with RCMP E Division confirmed Tuesday that the crash site is located in a very remote location and officials with the BC Coroners Service will be flown in by helicopter on Tuesday.

Forrest said there are some risks with adventure sports, but he has been a mountain guide for a long time and said the helicopters are maintained every day.

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“I think the joy and the experience that we provide people, I think is worth it, or at least the people have their decision to decide if it is worth it.”


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