New Zealand mountaineer is fourth person to die in B.C. heli-ski crash

New Zealand mountaineer is fourth person to die in B.C. heli-ski crash
THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, Ainsworth family
Lewis Ainsworth is seen in this undated handout photo provided by his family. Ainsworth, the president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, has died of his injuries after a Jan. 22, 2024, helicopter crash near Terrace, B.C.

A New Zealand mountaineering expert injured in the heli-skiing crash north of Terrace, B.C., last week has died, bringing the death toll to four.

The New Zealand Mountain Guides Association says in a Facebook post that its president, Lewis Ainsworth, had been on the Northern Escape Heli-Skiing helicopter as a guide.

Ainsworth’s mother, Marney Ainsworth, also said in a Facebook posting over the weekend that he would not survive his injuries, and on Monday posted a video tribute to her son.

A spokeswoman for Northern Escape said they would issue a statement soon.

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On Sunday, Northern Escape president John Forrest said that three people were killed in the crash while four were badly injured, and the bodies of those killed had been recovered from the crash site.

The Italian news agency ANSA has previously reported that three Italians died in the Jan. 22 crash.

The Facebook post from the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association says Ainsworth was internationally recognized in the mountaineering community and was 35 at the time of his death.

“He is loved by many and will be dearly missed by all those who have been fortunate enough to know Lewis and have shared in his passion for being in the mountains,” it says.

It says he is survived by his partner and their 10-year-old daughter.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has deployed a team of investigators to the site of the crash.

Ainsworth’s mother said on Facebook that she was “humbled and so very proud” to hear how highly her son was regarded by mountaineering colleagues.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2024.

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