2 dead, 4 hurt in helicopter crash near Prince George, B.C.: safety board

2 dead, 4 hurt in helicopter crash near Prince George, B.C.: safety board
Prince George Search and Rescue crews prepare their gear in a staging area at Purden Lake Resort near the site of a helicopter crash, east of Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. RCMP say two people were killed and four others were hurt in the crash.

Two people are dead and four more are injured after a helicopter crash east of Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday.

RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said in a statement that the crash occurred just before 7:45 a.m., when a privately-owned helicopter went down off Highway 16 near the Purden Ski Village, a mountain resort about a 45-minute drive from Prince George.

“There was a total of six people on board the aircraft at the time of the incident; regrettably, two of the individuals did not survive the crash,” Cooper said in statement. “Our Victim Services unit is currently working with the families of the deceased, providing ongoing support.”

Cooper said the helicopter had been chartered to fly in the area.

The Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday it was sending its people to the scene to take over the investigation.

Liam MacDonald, a safety board spokesman, said investigators will assess the crash site where the commercially registered Bell 206L helicopter went down.

BC Emergency Health Services said it transported four people by ambulance to hospital after the crash.

Cooper said the extent of the injuries to those on board is not known.

It’s unclear what the helicopter was doing in the area, but Cooper said they know it was not a forestry crew aboard.

“It is possible that emergency crews will be accessing the highway frequently and we are asking that motorists slow down and move over to give crews room to complete whatever work they need out there,” Cooper said in an interview.

“It is going to be a little bit of a challenge for emergency crews. It was in a more forested area that the helicopter crashed, so not easily accessible by emergency vehicles.”

MacDonald said safety board investigators will gather information, examine the wreckage, and conduct witness interviews before deciding how to classify the investigation.

Depending on how the investigation is classified, MacDonald said, the probe could take months or up to two years to complete.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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