Helicopter crash probe continues

The investigation continues into the cause of a helicopter crash that claimed three lives near Terrace last week.

  • Jun. 3, 2012 7:00 a.m.

The investigation continues into the cause of a helicopter crash that claimed three lives near Terrace last week.

The Bailey Helicopters’ Eurocopter AS350  crashed onto the back side of Sleeping Beauty Mountain 11 nautical miles west the morning of June 1, and its three male occupants were confirmed dead hours later.

Federal Transportation Safety Board investigators travelled to Terrace later that day to begin their investigation.

RCMP and Terrace Search and Rescue members were at the location within hours but pulled back when conditions were deemed too dangerous.

“The avalanche technician deemed the area unsafe for emergency crew and everyone was pulled out,” said RCMP Constable Angela Rabut the afternoon of June 1st.

The weather was poor that morning and it was raining and snowing at the location.

The three men aboard were Bailey Helicopters’ employees on a training flight.

Improved weather conditions Saturday, June 2 allowed transportation safety board investigators, the provincial coroner and RCMP officers to go to the site after avalanche technicians were able to remove some of the dangerous pack snow above the wreckage, a RCMP statement June 2 indicated.

“With the assistance of Terrace Ground Search & Rescue and the Terrace Fire Department the bodies of all three occupants were recovered and transported back to Terrace. Police have identified the three men, but are not confirming their identities until all of the families have been notified,” the statement continued.

Authorities say conditions at the wreckage site remain dangerous and that during recovery efforts a small slide was encountered.

The site and wreckage are now in the hands of the Transportation Safety Board who are continuing to remove the wreckage from the site.

Going into the weekend, one of the men had been confirmed to be Peter Bryant, 45, from Terrace, a pilot who’s been working with Bailey Helicopters for 11 years.

A Canadian Armed Forces Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft and a Cormorant helicopter out of Comox were sent to the area the morning of June 1 after the Bailey helicopter’s emergency beacon went off.

Bailey Helicopters is a business newcomer to the Terrace area and established a presence at the Northwest Regional Airport earlier this year in response to the improving regional economy.

It plans to build a hanger at the airport here.

Bailey’s head office is in Fort St. John and it has also offices in Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson.

The company was first established in 1989 to service the North Helmut

oilfields in B.C., beginning with one Bell 47 helicopter, which is a single engine aircraft and the first kind of helicopter certified for civilian use.

The Bailey’s website now says the company has two dozen aircraft.

Bailey mainly services the oil and gas industry, forestry and environmental type work.