Pilot dies in helicopter crash southeast of Calgary

Click to play video: 'Fatal helicopter crash near Okotoks' Fatal helicopter crash near Okotoks
Global News Morning Calgary's Doug Vaessen talks about the investigation into the cause of the crash of a helicopter on July 15, 2018 – Jul 16, 2018

Editor’s note: RCMP originally said the helicopter had crashed on the shoreline of the Sheep River. Global News has since confirmed the crash occurred on the shoreline of the Highwood River. 

One person is dead after a helicopter crash that happened on the shoreline of a river on Highway 552 southeast of Calgary Sunday evening, according to RCMP.

High River and Okotoks RCMP responded to a report of an aircraft crash on the shoreline of the Highwood River at around 5:30 p.m.

RCMP said the pilot was the only person on board the aircraft at the time of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The crash scene was near the Davisburg Bridge on Highway 552.

A fisherman in the area saw the crash and called 911. The aircraft was an “ultra-light helicopter” that was flying along the Sheep River Valley, according to officials.

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The RCMP did not reveal the identity of the pilot, however, in a Facebook post on Monday, a helicopter manufacturer identified him as John Uptigrove.

“We regret to inform the Mosquito community of the sad news that Mr. John Uptigrove passed on yesterday,” the post on Composite FX’s page reads. “We wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Uptigrove family.

“Details of his passing are not yet available, but we know that he was involved in a Mosquito AIR helicopter incident.”

Composite FX said it would provide more details on its website in time.

“In the spirit of flight for which John had such an abundance of passion, we will be focusing in the coming days and weeks on a transition plan to keep the Mosquito aloft.”

Uptigrove was an engineer with Innovator Technologies. The company credits him with designing and engineering the Mosquito SWIFT, a two-passenger, “high technology, kit-build helicopter.”

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Monday it is deploying a team of investigators to the site to gather information and assess the situation.

–With files from Phil Heidenreich

Transport Canada is investigating a crash of an “ultra light” helicopter on a river near Okotoks, Alta., on July 15, 2018. File photo/Global News/Ken MacGillivray

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