Tragedy in the backcountry of northern British Columbia as three people have died and four in critical condition in hospital after a helicopter crash.
The Northern Escape Heli Skiing chopper, one of three transporting heli skiers, went down around 4.15pm on Monday local time in the remote area.
The remaining two choppers were able to transport the four injured survivors to the town of Terrace where three air ambulances and five ground ambulances treated the critically injured and transported them to hospital.
The injuries have been described as serious according to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police statement.
“The guests who ski with us and the staff who work with us each season are part of our family,” says John Forrest, President and General Manager of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing in a statement released by the company.
“It is impossible to put into words the profound grief that we feel and the sorrow that our guests and our staff share. We hope you will respect the privacy of those impacted at this extremely difficult time.”
At this time, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is focused on providing assistance and support to everyone who was impacted by the accident.
“We are grateful to all the outside agencies and our team who jumped into action immediately after the accident took place today,” says Forrest.
Northern Escape Heli-Skiing has contacted HeliCat Canada’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, which will be deployed to support those involved in this incident—offering debriefing and defusing services, follow-up peer support and other resources.
“Northern Escape Heli-Skiing is focused on the safety of guests, staff and guides—it is our top priority and the most important work we do,” says Forrest.
“We are working closely with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and other authorities to support the investigation into the cause of the incident. Helicopter accidents are rare but do pose a risk to people who heli-ski in the mountains and backcountry.
“Northern Escape Heli-Skiing takes every precaution to minimize the risks while being in the backcountry, and they do this by meeting industry safety standards.
“However, similar to many outdoor activities, it’s impossible to eliminate 100 percent of the risks posed.”