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Kelowna pilot among 4 dead in fatal helicopter crash near Terrace

Mark McGowan is being named as the pilot who died in the crash

Northern Escape Heli-Skiing and Skyline Helicopters confirmed Monday, Jan. 29, that Kelowna pilot Mark McGowan was among the four killed in the fatal helicopter crash north of Terrace, on Jan. 22.

Gareth Shanks, General Manager of Skyline Helicopters based in Kelowna, called McGowan a “phenomenal pilot and a mentor to many.”

“Mark was an outstanding pilot and a mentor to many. I worked with him for over a decade and always enjoyed flying with him. He was a consummate professional,” stated John Forrest, President of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing.

The RCMP confirmed one of the four people dead was the guide, Lewis Ainsworth, who was originally injured and flown to hospital, but has since succumbed to his injuries.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) said Ainsworth was the 35-year-old president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA) and accredited by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations. He was employed as a guide by Northern Escape, the Terrace company running the expedition, RNZ said.

A statement from John Forrest, president of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing, says Ainsworth was in his second year as a guide and was a “rising star in the industry.” A celebration-of-life ceremony is being held for him in Vancouver on Jan. 29.

“The three other passengers remain in stable condition,” the RCMP said in a press release.

The two others who died in the crash have been identified by a newspaper in Italy as Heiner Junior (Heinzl) Oberrauch (29) and Andreas Widmann (35).

The Italian news agency ANSA reported last week that three of the victims were from Italy, but Northern Escape said two Italians were among the dead.

The crash remains under investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, the RCMP, BC Coroners Service.

—with a file from Canadian Press

READ MORE: New Zealand mountain guide becomes 4th fatality in Terrace helicopter crash