August 4, 2014 9:59 pm
Updated: August 4, 2014 11:12 pm

Helicopter pilot believes he was shot at with flare gun over Ladner skies


VANCOUVER — No good deed goes unpunished, at least not for Daryl Goodwin.

He’s a Ladner pilot and donates helicopter rides to different charities in the area that they sell off for silent auctions. Recently, he took the most recent winners up for a tour. They were a mother and a daughter; the mother was 90-years-old.

Part way through the flight, something exploded in the sky in front of them.

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“It was basically vertical, straight vertical, right up in front of us. I have no idea what they were trying to do but it could have been a catastrophic disaster,” Goodwin told Global News. 

The trio had toured the North Shore and were checking on one of Goodwin’s turf fields along the journey, flying at 250 to 300 feet, when Goodwin noticed what looked like a flare.

“I’ve been flying helicopter for over 20 years, retired from the airline for 33 years and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he said.

One of the passengers saw it too and they turned the chopper back to see what the flash could have been. They saw two men on the ground, and one walked 20 feet out and started gesturing toward the helicopter with his finger, according to Goodwin. He said he believes someone intentionally shot at his chopper with a gun powder-based bird banger, which are supposed to be shot horizontally and not up in the air.

The consequences could have been deadly for the pilot and his passengers. Goodwin says the propeller might have disintegrated on impact or the engine could have exploded if hit in the right spot. He reported it immediately to Air Traffic Control in Richmond, and the Delta Police and Transportation Safety Board are now investigating the incident.

— With files from Darlene Heidemann.


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