Grounded: Salmon Arm Fire Department Hall #2 captain Chris Lowe and firefighter Al Middleton disconnect the batteries from a downed helicopter that crashed at the Salmon Arm Airport Monday morning.

Grounded: Salmon Arm Fire Department Hall #2 captain Chris Lowe and firefighter Al Middleton disconnect the batteries from a downed helicopter that crashed at the Salmon Arm Airport Monday morning.

Pilot escapes injury

A small helicopter owned by Kelowna’s Okanagan Mountain Helicopters crashed at Salmon Arm Airport Monday

A small helicopter owned by Kelowna’s Okanagan Mountain Helicopters crashed at Salmon Arm Airport Monday.

The pilot, who wishes to remain anonymous, escaped serious injury.

“The helicopter was making an approach. I am not sure what the cause was, but it started to spin out of control and crashed,” says airport manager Keith Watson. “Nobody was hurt and the pilot walked away.”

The Salmon Arm Fire Department responded to a call of a downed helicopter at 10:10 a.m. on May 4.

“Upon arrival, firefighters found a small helicopter on its side adjacent to the runway with fuel leaking,” says fire chief Brad Shirley. “B.C. Ambulance treated the patient and transported him to Shuswap Lake General Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.”

Shirley says once they received clearance from the RCMP, Hall 2 firefighters were able to upright the aircraft.

“The fuel tank had been ruptured and because there was fuel leaking, we removed it into some drums,” says Shirley, noting 10 firefighters were on scene for approximately 90 minutes. “We wanted to eliminate any electrical hazards so we removed the battery.”

A Transport Canada spokesperson said the organization is aware of the helicopter incident.

“Transport Canada will follow up with the company to verify compliance with safety regulations,” reads a May 5 email. “Should the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) decide to investigate this accident, Transport Canada will co-operate fully with the TSB in its investigation.”

But a spokesperson from the Transportation Safety Board advised the agency is not conducting further investigation.

“TSB is aware of the accident, the pilot reported loss of control. We are not going to do a full investigation on that  because we have the information,” noted a phone message from a TSB spokesperson. “If you want more information on this now, you’ll have to call the Okanagan Mountain Helicopters.”

The company, however, has chosen not to comment.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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