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Transportation Safety Board probes fatal B.C. chopper crash

The crash occurred Friday (Jan. 5) in Glacier National Park
(The Canadian Press)

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada will be investigating the helicopter crash that occurred east of Revelstoke last Friday (Jan. 5).

TSB were deployed to Revelstoke Wednesday (Jan. 10) morning to investigate the incident. Rob Blair was the sole occupant and operator of the aircraft, which the TSB identified as a Bell 206B helicopter.

The TSB said in an email that a team of investigators will be gathering information and examining the crash.

According to the safety board, the aircraft was registered to the Aircraft Guaranty Corporation (AGC), which is an American company based in Oklahoma City, Okla.

AGC is a 30-year-old business that simplifies the “aircraft registration and re-registration process for entities who cannot meet the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registration requirements.”

Debbie Mercer-Erwin leads the trust of AGC and also owns Wright Brother Aircraft Title Company, but she made headlines in 2023 for other reasons.

In May 2023, Mercer-Erwin was found guilty in a Texas court for money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine knowing it would be imported into the U.S.

“In the aircraft world, planes registered in the United States and displaying a ‘N’ tail-number, are coveted as being properly vetted and trusted to legally operate around the world. Mercer-Erwin found ways to exploit the registration process in order to profit from illegally obtained money being paid for her services,” said U. S. Attorney Brit Featherston in a United States Attorney’s Office press release from May, 2023.

The TSB didn’t say when it would report on its findings from the investigation in Revelstoke.

READ MORE: Identity of deceased helicopter pilot near Revelstoke confirmed