BC Coroners Service identifies victim of helicopter crash northeast of Campbell River

Chopper went down in the Homathko River in Bute Inlet Saturday

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died in a helicopter crash on the Homathko River near Stewart Island on April 13.

He is Michael Kent Monson, aged 51, from Selah, Washington. Monson was one of six aboard a helicopter on a heli-fishing trip in the Bute Inlet area on April 13. The helicopter crashed shortly after take-off from one location along the Homathko River and plunged back into the river. The other five persons on board were able to exit the helicopter and were rescued; however, Monson was deceased at the scene.

An RCMP underwater recovery team recovered Mr. Monson’s body on April 15.

Five others on board, including the pilot, escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, the Campbell River RCMP received a report of a helicopter crash near Bute Inlet. This remote inlet is approximately 100 kilometres northeast of the city of Campbell River. Initial reports indicated that the helicopter, with one pilot and five passengers on board, went down and overturned in the Homathko River.

The Rescue Coordination Center dispatched a Search and Rescue Team from CFB Comox after receiving details of the crash.

The pilot and four passengers who were able to escape were initially transported to Campbell River hospital for examination. Four have since been released, while the fifth person, a passenger, remains in a Victoria area hospital undergoing further treatment.

The fifth passenger on board, a 48-year-old man, was trapped in the wreckage and unable to escape, Cpl. Darren Lagan said. The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team will attempt to recover his body from the submerged wreckage later today. The BC Coroner Service, Campbell River RCMP, and the RCMP Forensic Identification Section attended the crash site Sunday, and will return today to continue their investigation.

All evidence to date suggests that the helicopter crashed to the ground a short time after takeoff. There are no indications of criminal involvement in this crash, and the Transportation Safety Board has been notified.

On board the helicopter were the pilot, a 68-year-old man from Gold River; his passengers: a 37-year-old man, a US citizen; a 71-year-old man, a US citizen; a 45-year-old man, a US citizen; a 44-year-old man, also from Gold River; and the deceased.

The BC Coroner Service is now leading this ongoing investigation, and will continue to be assisted by RCMP resources.

The identity of the pilot and surviving passengers will not be released, RCMP say. The BC Coroner Service will address the identity of the deceased at a later date.