August 16, 2002

Three rescued after helicopter crash near Pitt Lake

by Tom Barnes

Three men are lucky to be alive after their helicopter slammed into a mountain near the north west corner of Pitt Lake Friday afternoon. A Canadian Forces Base Comox Labrador helicopter from 442 Squadron was called in to pluck the men off the mountain who were reported to be uninjured. They were deposited in Langley. According to rescue pilot Capt. Matthew Parsons, how the small copter (a Robson R44) crashed still isn't known, but he did say that in talking with the pilot of the downed copter, turbulence is believed to have played a role, causing a chain of events that may have led to the crash. The rescue copter was able to land on the snow-capped mountain at an elevation of around 5,100 feet. Parsons said the men were "very much unscathed" and given the location of the crash site and the circumstances said they should consider themselves very lucky. "I figure these guys are lucky to be around. These are the kinds of missions we hope for," Parsons said. At this time of year, warmer temperatures can make flying a helicopter extremely difficult, said Parsons. The crashed copter suffered extensive damage including having its tail completely sheared off from the rest of the fuselage and will have to brought off the mountain by another helicopter. There is no word on who owns the helicopter or if it was a commercial or private flight. Parsons said Transport Canada will conduct a full investigation