Helicopter Pilot Killed in Crash at Canadian Wildfire

July 21, 2023
Officials said the 41-year-old pilot, who was transporting water to fires, was killed when his helicopter crashed into a swamp in the Peace River region.

A helicopter pilot who was working the wildfires in Alberta, Canada, died Wednesday when his aircraft crashed near the Peace River region.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Patrol told CBC that the pilot, 41, was flying water to fire scene when the Bell 205A helicopter crashed into a swamp near Haig Lake.  Around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, an emergency signal was received from that area.

Officials said the crash site was not accessible by ground, and a helicopter found the crash site around 8 p.m. Forestry crews were at the scene when the Mounted Patrol arrived. 

They found CPR was being administered to the pilot, who was the only person on board the aircraft.

He was flown to a local airport where he was pronounced dead. 

"It collided with the ground during firefighting operations," Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson Chris Krepski told CBC. "It was during some phase of bucketing operations....I don't know what phase it would have been, whether it would have been while it was picking up water or it was releasing water. That is typically what we would try to find out."

West Kelowna-based Valhalla Helicopters owned the helicopter.

The pilot, from Whitecourt, Alberta, is the third responder to die while battling the country wildfires this summer. 

Since July 13, Devyn Gale, 19, and an unidentified firefighter were killed as fires spread across Canada.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada sent investigators to the scene.

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