The team at Northern Escape Heli Skiing have released an updated statement today regarding the helicopter accident near Terrace in northern British Columbia.
Three skiers have died and four are in hospital, two critical and two serious after a helicopter crashed around 4.15pm local time on Monday.
Three helicopters were operating in the area 30kms north of Terrace, all carrying passengers.
Read the updated statement here:
Statement from John Forrest, Owner, Northern Escape Heli-Skiing Regarding Helicopter Accident in Terrace
At this time, Northern Escape can confirm there have been three fatalities and four others were taken to Mills Memorial in Terrace. We are unable to provide names until we know that next-of-kin has been fully notified.
Four patients who were received and treated at Mills Memorial Hospital following yesterday’s tragic helicopter incident in the Terrace area have been transported to other centres in BC for higher levels of care. Currently, two of those patients are considered to be in critical condition and two are in serious condition.
On the day, Northern Escape had three helicopters operating in an area about 30km north of Terrace when one of the helicopters was involved in an accident. We contract our Helicopters from Skyline Helicopters based in Kelowna, B.C. All the scheduled communications were happening according to our protocols. During the time between scheduled calls, we received radio communications from a guest involved in the helicopter accident that the incident had occurred. We activated our Rescue protocols, including immediately ceasing all skiing activities and activating search and rescue.
Our two other helicopters in the area immediately joined the rescue efforts along with our team of guides. Our helicopters assisted in bringing injured individuals back to Terrace, B.C. Rescue operations were led by our guides who are professional and are well-trained to deal with these kinds of emergencies.
We also activated a mutual aid agreement with neighbouring operations, and White Wilderness assisted in getting guests off the mountain. I’d like to thank them for their help. We are also grateful to all the outside agencies and our team who jumped into action immediately after the accident took place. All other pilots, staff and guests got home safe.
At the moment, the cause of the accident is unclear. We are working closely with the RCMP, Transport Safety Board, WorkSafeBC and other authorities to support the investigation into the cause of the incident.Northern Escape Heli-Skiing takes every precaution to minimize the risks while being in the backcountry, and we meet all industry safety standards. However, similar to many outdoor activities, it’s impossible to eliminate 100 per cent of the risks.
All our trained heli-ski guides are dedicated professionals with years of British Columbia mountain guiding experience. Each is a certified member and/or recognized by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, the Canadian Ski Guides Association, the International Mountain Guides Associations and HeliCat Canada, our industry association that sets the standard of care for heli-skiing safety in our industry.
Northern Escape Heli-Skiing contacted Tyga Healthcare and HeliCat Canada’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, which were on site to support those involved in this incident—offering critical debriefing, follow-up peer support and other resources.
We are working towards resuming operations, but we don’t know when this will be. Right now, our focus is on supporting those who have been impacted by this accident. Our guests and staff remain our priority.