VIDEO UPDATE: Witness – ‘The sound was not right’
One person has died in a helicopter crash at Tyee Spit in Campbell River this morning.
“A locally-owned commercial helicopter met a tragic end in the area with one soul on board who did not survive,” Const. Maury Tyre, Campbell River RCMP spokesperson said in a press release.
Campbell River RCMP had the Spit Road area closed off for approximately an hour following the incident for investigative and safety purposes. The cause of the crash is presently unknown and will continue to be investigated by Worksafe BC, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the BC Coroner’s Service.
“On behalf of the Campbell River RCMP, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the victim in this crash and to the staff and owners of the helicopter company,” Tyre said.
Police said the name of the victim and the helicopter company will not be released due to privacy concerns.
A witness to the crash said that people rushed to the scene to provide assistance once the helicopter had come down.
Jacques Lizotte said, “We saw the chopper come over the top of us. Then the sound was not right. It looked like the motor was not running and we saw him coming down and when it hit the ground the rotor flew off and the fire start.”
Lizotte thought it was going to land in the parking lot but then it came down beside a building known as the Carving Shed on the part of Tyee Spit in the Wei Wai Kum First Nation reserve. The helicopter caught fire and the fire spread to a corner of the shed.
Like many others at a nearby popular city park and adjacent First Nation-owned RV park and housing subdivision, Lizotte rushed over to the scene. He said he saw two people pull the occupant of the helicopter out. He saw them pull apart some of the fibreglass of the helicopter fuselage to get to the occupant.
“Lots of people, they went there with the extinguisher and tried to get the fire out some run with a bucket of water,” Lizotte said.
Lizotte said the fire department then took over putting the fire out.