One person was killed in a helicopter crash at the Tyee Spit in Campbell River Sept. 24. The fuselage of the helicopter came down close to a carving shed on the Wei Wai Kum First Nation reserve causing it to catch fire as well. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Three-phase investigation into September’s fatal helicopter crash underway

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation into the fatal helicopter crash at Tyee Spit on Sept. 24 is underway and is expected be completed within 200 days.

But it won’t include findings or recommendations.

On that date, a Bell 206B helicopter operated by E&B Helicopters was conducting a flight from the operator’s base in Campbell River with Moat Lake it’s intended destination. There was only the pilot onboard, E&B owner Ed Wilcock, who was killed in the crash on Tyee Spit on land owned by the Wei Wai Kum First Nation.

RELATED: One dead in Campbell River helicopter crash

The TSB investigation page says that shortly after departure, control of the helicopter was lost and the aircraft struck a building, a carving shed. The emergency locator transmitter did not activate and there was a post-impact fire which spread to the shed which the helicopter blade struck during the crash.

The TSB deployed a team of investigators to the site on Sept. 24 which is the field phase, the first phase of the TSB’s three-phase investigation process.

The second phase is the examination and analysis phase in which the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.

The third phase is the report phase when a confidential draft report is approved by the board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

The Sept. 24 helicopter crash investigation at Tyee Spit is designated a class 4 occurrence by the TSB. These are limited-scope investigations that may contain limited analysis but do not include findings or recommendations, the TSB’s website says. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 200 days.

The TSB has six classes of incidents that it investigates. This classification is used to determine the TSB’s level of effort and investment, the investigation process, the type of report or product, and the target timeline.

A class 4 occurrence may have some important consequences, the TSB says. It may involve fatalities or serious injuries. There may be a small release of dangerous goods. There is moderate to minor damage to property and/or the environment. The occurrence attracts public interest within the immediate region or province/territory. The likelihood of identifying new safety lessons and of advancing transportation safety by reducing risks to persons, property, or the environment is low.

The TSB website outlines the investigation process and who is involved in a TSB investigation:

Many individuals and groups collaborate with the TSB in fulfilling its mandate. During an investigation, the TSB works with all levels of government, transportation companies, equipment manufacturers, and individuals such as survivors, witnesses, next of kin, and operators. The TSB also works with coroners and medical examiners, police, fire departments, and search-and-rescue teams. Collaboration at all levels is essential for the TSB to carry out its mandate.

Survivors and next of kin

When fatalities occur, responsibility for informing the next of kin falls to the police, the coroner/medical examiner, or the transportation company. The TSB keeps survivors and next of kin informed about the process and progress of its investigation, and briefs them on the final report before it is released to the public and the media.

Witnesses and others with knowledge related to the occurrence

TSB investigators interview anyone who can assist them with the investigation. If you are asked to provide information, you may wish to have someone accompany you (find out more about being interviewed by the TSB).

Observers

The TSB may grant observer status to persons with a direct interest in the subject matter of the investigation who can potentially contribute to the advancement of transportation safety. Observers usually come from transportation companies, equipment manufacturers, and regulatory agencies. They attend investigations, under the supervision of an investigator and in accordance with TSB rules.

Investigation information

Information collected during an investigation, including on-board recordings, representations to the TSB, and personal information such as witness statements, is protected under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

The B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC are also investigating the incident.


@AlstrT
editor@campbellrivermirror.com

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