Canadian Rangers from Quaqtaq find helicopter wreckage
Witnesses reported seeing chopper “flying quite low”
Canadian Rangers from Quaqtaq found the wreckage Thursday of a helicopter that crashed some time July 17 after taking off from Kangirsuk.
Quaqtaq mayor Johnny Oovaut said five rangers searching the rugged Ungava coastline in two canoes found the scattered wreckage of the Bell 206 helicopter approximately 80 kilometres northwest of the community.
He said searchers also found the bodies of the two crew members.
“It sounds like they really slammed into the hill,” Oovaut said.
The area was blanketed in fog for most of the last week Oovaut said, adding witnesses camping south of Quaqtaq reported seeing the helicopter “flying quite low.”
Names of the two crew members haven’t been released, but St. John’s radio station VOCM reported that one of the men was in his mid-thirties and from Gander, Nfld.
Two investigators from the Transportation Safety Board left Dorval, Quebec for the crash site, said TSB spokeswoman Julie Leroux.
They were expected to arrive in Nunavik Saturday. Leroux couldn’t say how long their investigation would take.
At the height of the search, three Hercules planes carrying volunteer spotters from Iqaluit scoured the area, as well as an Aurora aircraft based in Greenwood, NS.
Oovaut said a Coast Guard helicopter was also involved in the search. Officers from the Kativik Regional Police Force were on the scene Friday, he said.
The chopper, owned by Canadian Helicopters, left Kangirsuk last Friday night and was headed for a refuelling stop at Kangiqsujuaq, said Capt. Mark Peebles, senior public affairs officer at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario.
It left Kangirsuk just after 1:30 p.m. July 17. Around six hours later Canadian Helicopters declared the flight overdue and phoned the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Peebles said.
The flight was bound for Cape Dorset after the stop in Kangiqsujuaq. The purpose of the flight isn’t yet known.
A message left with Canadian Helicopters’ Edmonton office wasn’t immediately returned Friday.