Two people have died and four others were transported to hospital after a helicopter crash east of Prince George Tuesday morning (Sept. 26).
Prince George RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said emergency crews were alerted to the crash around 7:45 a.m. near Purden ski hill, which is about 67 kilometres east of Prince George.
BC Emergency Health Services said six ambulances and a supervisor responded, with four people transported to hospital.
It was a privately owned helicopter that had been chartered to do some flights in the area. Prince George RCMP said further information was not available.
Prince George RCMP is asking anyone driving past the area to “remember to give emergency crews plenty of room to work if they are on the highway, by slowing down and moving over and to obey flagger signals.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has deployed a team of investigators to the fatal crash. TSB said it was a Bell 206L helicopter involved in the crash.
RCMP will remain on scene until TSB arrives to take conduct of the investigation. BC Coroners Service will be doing its own investigation.
Victim services is currently working with the families of the deceased, Cooper said.
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.
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.
It’s unclear what the helicopter was doing in the area, but Cooper said they know it was not a forestry crew aboard.
“It is going to be a little bit of a challenge for emergency crews. It was in a more forested area that the helicopter crashed, so not easily accessible by emergency vehicles.”
Liam MacDonald, a safety board spokesman, said safety board investigators will gather information, examine the wreckage, and conduct witness interviews before deciding how to classify the investigation.
Depending on how the investigation is classified, MacDonald said, the probe could take months or up to two years to complete.
—with a file from the Canadian Press