Chopper fighting B.C. forest fire crashes

Chopper fighting B.C. forest fire crashes

29 July 2010

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Canada — Two men were injured Thursday when the helicopter they were operating to fight a forest fire near Lillooet crashed, RCMP said.

The Bell 214B operated by Transwest Helicopters Ltd, was conducting water bucketing on the Jade Mountain Wildfire at an active edge of the fire area when it went down, police said.

The 61-year-old pilot from Vernon and the 27-year-old co-pilot from Abbotsford received first aid at the crash site and were air lifted to Lillooet. The co-pilot was treated and released while the pilot was flown to Kamloops Inlands Hospital for further treatment.

Police said their injuries were relatively minor.

“Extraction crews worked very quickly in getting to the two men and moving them out of further harm’s way, given the danger that the crash location posed,” said RCMP Cpl Dan Moskaluk in a press release. “It was essentially at the fire’s edge in a very highly active fire area. Although a somber reminder of the inherent risk involved in the carrying out of these fire fighting duties, all agencies and the community at large were relieved to hear that the two men were recovered injured but alive, we’re all very thankful for that.”

Transport Canada is investigating the crash.

The Jade Mountain Wildfire in the Yalakom Valley is still estimated at 1,000 hectares in size and is being battled by 125 firefighters, five structure protection unit personnel, 11 helicopters and 19 pieces of heavy equipment.

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