Orillia Pilot Among Those Killed in Helicopter Crash

Orillia Pilot Among Those Killed in Helicopter Crash

Orillia Pilot Among Those Killed in Helicopter Crash

One of Canada's largest electricity companies has grounded its helicopter fleet as investigators work to determine what caused a chopper crash that killed four of the utility's workers in eastern Ontario.

The crash occurred on December 14 near the town of tweed (North of Kingston). Ontario's air ambulance service responded to the scene but said it did not transport any patients.

The OPP sent one of its helicopters to the scene as well.

Crews had been ferried by helicopter in and out of the area for weeks as they worked on hydro lines strung on the towers that cross the property, said Kim Clayton, who lives near the crash site and grew used to hearing choppers fly back and forth. "But just before noon it was making a bunch of different sounds that I had become accustomed to, and then there was a loud bang and the house shook".

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They say the aircraft involved is an Aerospatiale AS 350, registered to Hydro One Inc.

Hydro One said workers would pause Friday "to take time to grieve and remember four members from our Hydro One family", the company said in a statement via Twitter.

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault said the government's "thoughts are with the employees affected, and our honest condolences to the families of those lost in the crash". Brunet said a Hercules aircraft which had been doing a training in the Peterborough area was redirected to the site and a CH-146 Griffon helicopter was en route after leaving CFB Trenton.

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are leading the probe into the crash.

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"I was in disbelief", Clayton said, adding that at the time she hoped it wasn't as bad as it sounded. You watch movies and you think with a helicopter there's going to be an explosion or something, but there was nothing.

"I knew it wasn't good when the ambulance loaded the guys in and they didn't leave", Clayton said. "You have to be trained really well to be able to hover like that, and do manoeuvres".

"They have families, it's nearly Christmas time", Clayton said. "How do you wrap your head around that?"

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