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Heli-skiing company ready to resume operations following fatal crash

Helicat will not be inspecting the company before its reopening
Koala Agusta 119 of the kind flown by Skyline Helicopters out of Kelowna, one of which crashed north of Terrace on Jan 22. (Skyline Helicopters photo)

In wake of the fatal helicopter crash Jan. 22, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing has announced its readiness to resume operations. The crash on Monday killed three people and injured four.

In a social media post, John Forrest, president of Northern Escape, said the operations were temporarily halted out of respect for those affected. The relaunch of operations will begin on Jan. 28, with operations expected to reach full capacity by Feb. 4.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is currently investigating the incident. Investigations by the RCMP, BC Coroners Service, and WorkSafeBC are also underway.

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing was last accredited in 2022 by Helicat Canada, which sets the operating standards and carries out inspections of companies running backcountry skiing operations. The inspections take place every five years with self-declaration in the interim years.

Ross Cloutier, the executive director of Helicat Canada mentioned that they will not be inspecting the company before its reopening, as it was accredited just two years ago. Helicat Canada only inspects the operations related to skiing, which includes guide qualification, snow signs and ski equipment.

“We look forward to the report of TSB,” Cloutier said.

Prabhnoor Kaur

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