1. #1
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    Unhappy Search Continues for Pilot of BC Firefighting Helicopter

    From CTV News:

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...hub=TopStories

    Search continues for pilot of B.C. fire helicopter
    Updated Sat. Aug. 15 2009 12:29 PM ET

    The Canadian Press

    KELOWNA, B.C. -- Search efforts have resumed for the pilot of a firefighting helicopter that crashed in southwestern B.C.

    The RCMP says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as Hope Search and Rescue have boats on the Fraser River. They will be joined by an RCMP helicopter later in the day.

    The Bell 212 was operating a waterbucket on the 12-square-kilometre Intlpam fire near Lytton when it went down late Friday afternoon in the river near where it joins the Thompson River.

    The submerged wreckage has been located, but RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says at this time, there is no sign of the pilot, who was the only person on board the helicopter.

    Moskaluk says an RCMP dive team is on the scene again this morning, but given the current of about 16 kilometres per hour, and the 15 metre depth of the river, they're not involved so far in the search today.
    Hoping for a miracle.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
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    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    UPDATE ....

    RCMP identify helicopter pilot missing in B.C. crash

    Vancouver Province August 15, 2009 2:48 PM
    StoryPhotos ( 1 )


    LILLOOET, B.C. — Searchers combed the banks of the Thompson-Fraser River Saturday for the pilot of a helicopter that crashed into the south central B.C. waterway on Friday.


    The Bell 212 chopper was fighting a wildfire outside Lillooet when it crashed late in the afternoon.


    The wreckage, submerged in the river between Lytton and Lillooet, was spotted by rescue crews Friday from the air, but police were forced to call off their search as dusk fell.


    The pilot was identified as 53-year-old Robert Christopher Woodhead of Stoney Creek, Ont. He was the helicopter’s sole occupant.


    At the time of the crash, he was filling the aircraft’s water bucket as part of the effort to combat a nearly 1,300-hectare blaze about 20 kilometres south of Lillooet.


    Witnesses reported he surfaced in the water after the crash, so efforts were focused Saturday on a water and riverbank search.


    Two boats from Hope Search and Rescue were being deployed along with an RCMP helicopter, said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.


    “There was a second helicopter operating in the area who witnessed the crash and immediately attempted to assist Mr. Woodhead when he was seen surfacing,” said Moskaluk. “A valiant attempt was made by the second pilot and machine by lowering his line and bucket into the river near Mr. Woodhead, however it was not successful and the pilot lost visual sight of Mr. Woodhead.”


    This was the fourth Canadian helicopter accident in a month.


    Lillooet is about 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

    © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Thanks for the update Sheri. I certainly hope he made it to shore. I know that country a bit and some of those rivers are pretty fast and strong. A note, the second highest cause for LODD in Canada is forestry firefirefighting. A couple of years since 1978, they have been #1. Hopefully the pilot makes it home.

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    Update ....

    Crashed pilot fighting B.C. forest fire believed dead
    Updated Sun. Aug. 16 2009 5:29 PM ET

    CTV.ca News Staff

    The RCMP says that a chopper pilot who crashed into a river as he was battling a B.C. forest fire last week has likely died.

    Search teams found a helmet belonging to Robert Woodhead in the Fraser River on Sunday, but the 53-year-old's body is still missing, The Canadian Press reports.

    On Friday, Woodhead's Bell 212 chopper went down over rugged terrain near a river in the province's interior. The helicopter was also outfitted with a large water bucket designed for fighting fires.


    "We have met and spoken to the family," said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. "It is believed that Mr. Woodhead perished in the river."

    Moments after the crash, a fellow pilot spotted Woodhead in the river and attempted to drop his bucket down to help the pilot. However, Woodhead wasn't able to grab hold.

    Woodhead, who was from Stoney Creek, Ont., had been hired to battle the Intlpam fire, which is located about 150 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

    The RCMP suspect that Woodhead died as his body was pulled along by the river's strong current. Searchers also found parts of the helicopter downstream.

    The helicopter was owned by an Alberta-based company called Elbow River Helicopters. Company manager Torrie Chartier declined to comment specifically on the crash.


    "It is under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and the RCMP and they will release the information," she told CP on Sunday.


    The Intlpam blaze has been burning across a 12-square-kilometre patch of land since July 25. The BC Fire Service says the fire was likely ignited by a lightning strike.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    So that means they've stopped looking for him? There's still a possibility, however slight, that he'll turn up alive. For his family's sake, I hope so.

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