4th person dies, bodies recovered after fatal helicopter crash in Terrace

Click to play video: 'Bodies recovered in northern B.C. heli-ski crash'
Bodies recovered in northern B.C. heli-ski crash
The bodies of three victims who died in a heli-skiing crash in northern B.C. have been recovered. – Jan 29, 2024

A fourth person has died of their injuries a week after a devastating helicopter crash northwest of Terrace, B.C.

Three people died in the heli-skiing incident on Jan. 22: two Italian tourists and the aircraft’s pilot. Their bodies have since been recovered from site in the mountains about 50 kilometres from the city, the RCMP confirms.

“Poor weather and visibility conditions severely impacted efforts to safely return to the crash site over several days,” said Staff Sgt. Kris Clark in a Monday news release.

“Thanks to the hard work and determination of the Terrace Search and Rescue, the bodies of those who tragically died have now been recovered.”

Click to play video: 'Investigation into deadly Terrace heli-skiing crash begins'
Investigation into deadly Terrace heli-skiing crash begins

At the time of the crash last week, three helicopters were running a heli-skiing operation in the backcountry. Two of the helicopters lost communication with the third, and a crash site was found shortly afterward in a snow field.

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Seven people were aboard the helicopter, three of whom died. The other four were transported to the hospital, shuttled by the remaining two helicopters, RCMP said.

One of them — a guide — has now died, but Mounties said the other three are in stable condition.

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

On Monday, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing identified the pilot as Mark McGowan and the guide as Lewis Ainsworth.

“Expressing the profound grief we are experiencing is impossible. We hope you will respect the privacy of those impacted at this extremely difficult time,” said company president John Forrest in a press release.

Forrest described Ainsworth as a second-year guide at Northern Escape and a “rising star in the industry,” who was “friendly helpful, passionate and amazingly talented.”

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“Mark was an outstanding pilot and a mentor to many. I worked with him for over a decade and always enjoyed flying with him,” Forrest added. “He was a consummate professional. Our industry suffered a massive loss with the passing of these two men. Everyone who worked with them is grieving.”

Click to play video: 'Three people dead in heli ski crash in northern B.C.'
Three people dead in heli ski crash in northern B.C.

Italian media have identified the tourists, but Global News has not confirmed their identities independently.

The crashed Northern Escape Heli Skiing helicopter was an Agusta A119 Koala, which can carry up to eight people.

A federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) team is investigating the crash.

Forrest has said all communications at the time were taking place in accordance with the company’s protocols. The moment the radio call came in about a crash, he added, the company ceased all heli-skiing operations and initiated a rescue mission.

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“At the moment it’s unclear what the cause of the incident was,” Forrest said on Jan. 23.

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

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