March 7, 2021 By The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Two people were transported to hospital in serious but stable condition after a helicopter crash on Bowen Island, B.C.
B.C. Emergency Health Services says in a statement that they received a call at about 10 a.m. Friday morning for reports of a downed helicopter on the island off the coast of West Vancouver.
Emergency Health Services says two patients have been airlifted to hospital.
Capt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre says a helicopter was initially sent to help in the rescue, before the call was cancelled.
A spokeswoman for the Transportation Safety Board says an investigation team is expected to arrive at the crash site on Saturday.
Bowen Island resident Tony Mainwaring, who was the first person on scene, says he was shocked to find both occupants alive and apparently suffering only minor injuries.
Mainwaring says he saw the helicopter flip upside down before it crashed near the Mount Gardner dock, on the north side of the island, after the pilot attempted to land in a field.
“As soon as (the helicopter) hit the ground, we heard it,” he says. “It was a huge impact.”
The safety board says the helicopter, operated by Airspan Helicopters, had departed Sechelt, B.C., and was bound for Cypress Provincial Park when the crash occurred.
Mainwaring says he quickly gathered a few friends, went to the scene and found both people involved walking around near the crash site.
“I’ve never witnessed anything like that. I’m a faller and I’ve spent a lot of time in the bush, but I’ve never seen anything like that.”
He says the crash site had jet fuel spilled across it, so they worked to get the helicopter’s occupants away to safety in case a fire started.
A spokesman for Airspan Helicopters said the company is working with the Transportation Safety Board in its investigation.