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Federal transport agency begins probe into fatal northwest B.C. helicopter crash

Three killed, four injured in Jan. 22 incident north of Terrace
Koala Agusta 119 (Source: Skyline Helicopters) Koala Agusta 119 of the kind flown by Skyline Helicopters out of Kelowna, one of which crashed north of Terrace on Monday Jan 22. (Skyline Helicopters photo)

A Transportation Safety Board (TSB) official has confirmed officials with the federal agency have started their probe into the reasons why a helicopter contracted out to Northern Escape Heli-Skiing crashed 30 kilometres north of Terrace on Jan. 22, killing three people and injuring four.

“The investigation has already begun and we have started to collect information regarding the crash,” Liam MacDonald said today Jan. 24.

The duration of the investigation hinges on the classification of the crash, with an estimated time frame of 250 days for an ideal scenario, though more serious ones could extend into a few years.

If the safety board decides to examine the helicopter wreckage at its labs, it will be transported to either Richmond or Ottawa.

According to John Forrest, co-owner of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing, there were no reported mechanical issues prior to the crash.

“Every helicopter comes with a pilot and an engineer, and the engineer maintains the helicopter daily,” he said in a Jan. 23 news conference.

MacDonald said the TSB will be interviewing various people related to the crash including helicopter owners Skyline Contractors, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing, witnesses and others.

It will look at all factors including maintenance records, log books, controls and engines.

Other agencies such as the BC Coroners Service, RCMP and WorkSafeBC are also investigating the incident.

“TSB has an independent safety investigation to find out what, and why it happened and how we can prevent it further,” MacDonald said.

TSB will be coordinating and cooperating with other agencies during the investigation, however, their research will be independent, he added.

Read More: 4 in critical condition after fatal heli-skiing helicopter crash near Terrace

Prabhnoor Kaur

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