A British Columbia-based aviation company has confirmed one of its helicopters was involved in Thursday’s fatal crash north of Paynton, Sask. Members of the RCMP, STARS Air Ambulance and other emergency services responded to the scene Thursday afternoon.
The crash killed a 55-year-old pilot from Campbell River, B.C. and a 30-year-old passenger from Prince Albert. Both were declared dead at the scene.
“We have been in contact with the pilot’s family and are in communication with the passenger’s employer, who is our client. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both gentlemen,” Oceanview Helicopters co-owners James Mode and Bill Chernoff wrote in a statement.
SaskPower confirmed the crew members were contacted to install visual markers on a power line in the area.
“The MD500D helicopter was being used for complex and highly specialized work at the time of the incident. We don’t know and cannot speculate at this early stage on what happened,” according to the Oceanview statement.
The helicopter crashed into an island in the North Saskatchewan River. First-responders were treated for hypothermia, after they attempted to swim to the island, one STARS member said.
The Transportation Safety Board is en route to the crash site. Investigators are expected to arrive Friday night and open their investigation Saturday. Members will be interviewing witnesses, collecting data and taking pictures.
RCMP have not released the names of the victims.