Campbell River pilot mourned after fatal helicopter crash

WatchCofounder of E & B Helicopters remembers as a champion of forest safety and a huge community supporter

Transportation Safety Board investigators were in Campbell River Wednesday at the site of Tuesday’s fatal helicopter crash.

They’re examing what was left of the Bell 206, owned by E & B Helicopters, and trying to determine what went wrong.

Around 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, witnesses heard the chopper lose power before plunging onto a home on Tyee Spit.

“His engine was cut. It was very quiet and he was trying to get his nose up and he couldn’t,” said Richard August, who saw the crash from a nearby construction site.

“He lost complete rotor failure as he got to the rocks over there and then banked hard left and [it was] a straight fall.”

The pilot killed has been identified as Ed Wilcock, one of the companies founders.

A Campbell River Search and Rescue search manager says his death is being mourned by many.

“Ed’s a big community supporter. Does a lot of community events and stuff. He’s donated helicopter time for search and rescue events that kind of stuff,” said Grant Cromer.

“Known Ed for many years. He helped us develop our class D rescue program for helicopters so yeah a big loss for the community.”

In 2017 the BC Forestry Safety Council awarded Wilcock a lifetime achievement award for safety in the forest industry.

Grant Cromer says his heart dropped when he first heard about the helicopter crash.

“Of course as the news trickled in it was worst-case scenario so very unfortunate. Yeah, not a good day for a lot of people in Campbell River.”

A manager at E & B Helicopters says their loss is still very raw in their tight-knit company and they will likely make a public statement in the coming days.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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