THE Transportation Safety Board has concluded that a 2011 crash near Stewart which killed three people was likely caused when the craft’s main rotor blades struck a mountain face.
On July 31, 2011, just after 9 a.m., a VIH Helicopters Ltd. Bell 407 helicopter left Stewart airport with the pilot and two passengers on board.
The helicopter flew to a geological exploration site 14 nautical miles north of Stewart. There, the helicopter engaged in manoeuvers that allowed the passengers to view rock formations of interest.
Approximately six hours later, the wreckage of the aircraft was discovered strewn down the steep mountainside at the exploration site.
Stewart RCMP then confirmed that deceased were 35-year-old pilot Randy Ken Lambert from Abbotsford, B.C., 40-year-old passenger Colin Dionne from Powell River, B.C. and 32-year-old passenger Mathieu Lefebvre-Masse who lived Lund, B.C. but was originally from Quebec.
A Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded the helicopter “likely struck the mountain face with its main rotor blades, causing it to crash.” The report also noted that VIH procedures regarding filing flight plans and tracking overdue aircraft were not followed.
It also found that “when a company’s actual practice does not follow its written procedure, flight crew and passengers may be at increased risk of injury or death following an accident.”
“As a result of the accident, VIH Helicopters Ltd. is working with manufacturers of flight data monitoring systems to develop and test hardware and software that would further meet the needs of visual flight rules helicopter operations,” the report added.