The board released its investigation report Tuesday into the crash last August of an Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd. aircraft that was under full power when it hit the upper part of a mountain northwest of Stewart, killing the pilot. (Facebook/Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd.)

The board released its investigation report Tuesday into the crash last August of an Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd. aircraft that was under full power when it hit the upper part of a mountain northwest of Stewart, killing the pilot. (Facebook/Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd.)

What caused a fatal B.C. helicopter crash last summer? We may never know, says TSB

Investigators found no indication of mechanical or structural problems with the aircraft

Heavy rain creating an optical illusion on the windshield of a helicopter could have played a role in a fatal crash in northwestern British Columbia last summer, but the Transportation Safety Board says without onboard recording devices it’s impossible to determine the exact cause.

The board released its investigation report Tuesday into the crash last August of an Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd. aircraft that was under full power when it hit the upper part of a mountain northwest of Stewart, killing the pilot.

The report finds the pilot was well-rested, highly trained and had more than 200 hours of flight time on the Airbus Helicopters AS 350 B2 when it went down.

There was also no indication of mechanical or structural problems with the aircraft and work moving sections of a drill rig from one area of an exploration site to another had been trouble-free in the hours before the crash.

Investigators point to sudden heavy rain as one possible reason for the crash, noting that rain, especially on sloping windshields, can create a “refraction error” that makes either the horizon or oncoming objects appear lower.

RELATED: Pilot dead after helicopter crash at mine in northern B.C., company confirms

But the report also says that after such an accident, an investigation “may never be able to determine the exact causes and contributing factors” unless the aircraft is equipped with an on-board recording device.

The board repeats its recommendation for a Department of Transport order making lightweight flight recording systems mandatory on commercial and private aircraft that aren’t currently required to have them installed.

Transport Canada is making “positive” progress on that recommendation, the board report says.

“However, until the regulations are finalized, the risks associated with the safety deficiency … will continue to exist.”

Helicopter crash

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019. (Facebook photo)
Meth, excessive speed found as factors in Osoyoos boat crash deaths

Nick Trask, 36, and Ryan Ellison, 35, died in a boat collision on Osoyoos Lake in 2019

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The automated external defibrillator, like the one pictured here, was stolen from the Skaha Lake Boathouse for the second time in a year. (File)
Life-saving device stolen from Penticton paddler community for second time

It’s hoped that a new boathouse will be able to better protect the device

scales of justice
Guilty or not guilty? Lamb waits on two judges’ decisions

Trials for two of Bryan Lamb’s criminal cases wrapped up this week

Katerina Bakalos of Summerland will release her first single on May 1. The music label is LMS Entertainment from Kelowna. (Contributed)
Summerland singer to release single under Kelowna-based label

Katerina Bakalos has performed a rock rendition of I Think We’re Alone Now

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Virtual meetings are taking a toll on local governance, according to multiple mayors in the North Okanagan. (Headway photo)
Virtual meetings leave North Okanagan politicians out of touch

More than a year of Zoom has led to a disconnect between officials, according to local mayors

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
‘I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants the Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Most Read