One person was killed in a helicopter crash at the Tyee Spit in Campbell River Sept. 24. The fuselage of the helicopter came down close to a carving shed on the Wei Wai Kum First Nation reserve causing it to catch fire as well. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

One dead in Campbell River helicopter crash

Helicopter crashes at Tyee Spit near the city’s downtown

One person died in a helicopter crash at Tyee Spit in Campbell River Tuesday morning and the crash narrowly-missed a local First Nations carver in his studio at the time.

At approximately 11:25 a.m. on Tuesday, Campbell River RCMP and Campbell River Fire responded to a report of a helicopter crash in the Tyee Spit area of Campbell River.

“A locally-owned commercial helicopter met a tragic end in the area with one soul on board who did not survive,” Const. Maury Tyre, Campbell River RCMP spokesperson said in a press release.

Campbell River RCMP had the Spit Road area closed off for approximately an hour following the incident for investigative and safety purposes. The cause of the crash is presently unknown and will continue to be investigated by Worksafe BC, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the BC Coroner’s Service.

“On behalf of the Campbell River RCMP, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the victim in this crash and to the staff and owners of the helicopter company,” Tyre said.

Police said the name of the victim and the helicopter company will not be released due to privacy concerns.

A witness to the crash said that people rushed to the scene to provide assistance once the helicopter, a Bell 206, had come down.

Jacques Lizotte said, “We saw the chopper come over the top of us. Then the sound was not right. It looked like the motor was not running and we saw him coming down and when it hit the ground the rotor flew off and the fire started.”

Lizotte thought it was going to land in the parking lot but then it came down beside a building known as the Carving Shed on the part of Tyee Spit in the Wei Wai Kum First Nation reserve. The helicopter caught fire and the fire spread to a corner of the shed.

Renowned local artist Bill Henderson was in the shed at the time but managed to avoid injury. His great-neice, Keisha Malone, said Henderson had luckily moved away from the part of the shed that was struck by the helicopter’s propeller blade as it sliced through the roof. His nephews were working outside the shed on a totem pole and also escape unharmed.

Malone was in her house across the street and heard a “huge, loud bang” and then people yelling “Call 911!” Malone said Henderson is shaken up by the incident but is doing all right. She said her family’s thoughts were with the pilot’s family.

“Our condolences go out to his family,” she said.

Lizotte was one of many who rushed over to the scene. He said he saw two people pull the occupant of the helicopter out. He saw them pull apart some of the fibreglass of the helicopter fuselage to get to him.

“Lots of people, they went there with the extinguisher and tried to get the fire out; some run with a bucket of water,” Lizotte said.

Lizotte said the fire department then took over putting the fire out.

The crash site is a heavily-used area of Campbell River. Part of it is in the Wei Wai Kum First Nation reserve and includes an RV park, a housing subdivision the carving shed and defunct cruise ship dock. North of the crash site on the Tyee Spit is a popular city park, a busy floatplane base and an ore ship loading facility.

A team from the Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash as is WorkSafe BC and the BC Coroner’s Service.

CTV News is reporting that the pilot killed in the crash is Ed Wilcock, owner of E&B Helicopters of Campbell River.

– with files from Canadian Press


@AlstrT
[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Emergency crews attend the scene of a helicopter crash at Campbell River’s Tyee Spit. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

New MP Taylor Bachrach makes his first trip to Bella Coola

Bachrach said he is keen to get to know his riding and the members of his constituency

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Nuxalk Nation celebrates first carpentry graduates

11 students graduated from the community’s first carpentry program

Bella Coola leave their mark on All Native Basketball Tournament as they reach Intermediate final

Nuxalk Braves bring home a strong second place finish; three individual awards for Marlon Edgar-Apps

All Native Basketball: Finals matchups start to take shape as title games approach

Two Prince Rupert sides in contention, while two dynasties are on the brink

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read