4 others taken to hospital, emergency officials say, after crash near Purden Lake ski area

CBC News 

Two people are dead and four others are injured following a helicopter crash east of Prince George, B.C., investigators say.

In a release, RCMP say they were notified of the crash near the Purden Hill ski area along Highway 16, about 55 kilometres east of the central Interior city, around 7:45 a.m. PT Tuesday and responded with other emergency services.

Mounties say there were six people on board the Bell 206L helicopter that went down near Purden Skil Hill, a resort off Highway 16.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has confirmed two people were killed and they are investigating.

Four other people were injured and transported to hospital, according to B.C. Emergency Health Services.

RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said  that the helicopter was privately owned and had been chartered to do some flights in the area and the victims are believed to be local to Prince George.

Forestry company Canfor said the victims included contractors on their way to do field survey work, though none were direct employees.

“We mourn the loss of the workers whose lives were heartbreakingly cut short and send condolences to their families and friends,” spokesperson Michelle Ward said in a written statement.

Cooper said details about the cause of the crash are still being investigated, and the TSB would be taking the lead since the accident involved an aircraft.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline and rail transportation crashes or accidents.

Crash was in forested area: RCMP

A CBC News reporter said the staging area for emergency responders was at Purden Lake resort, which is west of the ski hill, on the north side of Highway 16. 

RCMP have asked motorists in the area to slow down and give emergency crews room to access the crash site.

Cooper said the area where the helicopter went down is forested and not easily accessible by emergency vehicles.

Cell service in the area is limited.

Injured in ‘good condition’: Northern Health

Arthur Williams with the Northern Health authority confirmed that four patients from the crash site were treated at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.

Williams said in an email that all four “are reported to be in good condition.”

“It’s expected that some of the patients may be discharged from the hospital today,” the statement said on Tuesday.