UPDATE: Four Hydro One employees killed in helicopter crash in eastern Ontario

O.P.P. and Hydro One trucks stand near a Hydro One crash near Tweed, Ont., on Dec. 14, 2017. Four Hydro One employees were killed Thursday in a helicopter crash in eastern Ontario, police and the utility reported.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

TWEED, Ont. - Four Hydro One employees were killed Thursday in a helicopter crash in eastern Ontario, police and the utility reported.

No one survived the crash that occurred just before noon outside Tweed, north of Kingston, provincial police said.

Kim Clayton, who lives near the crash site, said Hydro crews had been working for weeks on the power lines strung on the towers that cross the property, and she was used to hearing them fly back and forth.

Clayton said there was no indication of any trouble until a loud crash shook the house. She scrambled to a window, where she said she saw part of the chopper in the trees that surround an open field. Other hydro crew members were running around.

"My heart started pounding in my chest," said Clatyon, 45, who moved onto the property just six weeks ago. "I was in panic mode."

She said she heard workers yelling that a helicopter had crashed and to call 911. Initially Clayton didn't think the situation was that bad but then she said she feared for the worst when she saw ambulances turn away without transporting any of the chopper's crew.

"I then said to myself, 'They're not coming out of this'."

The helicopter was apparently heading for a landing, Clayton said, adding she was relieved it didn't hit anyone on the ground or her horses, which were on the other side of the field.

Clayton, whose husband was away and children in school, said she choked up when the orange tape started going up she realized just how bad it was.

"They have families, it's almost Christmas time," Clayton said. "I still can't believe four guys died on this property today and it's sad."

The Tweed fire department confirmed it responded to the crash. Ontario's air ambulance service also responded to the scene but left without any casualties.

In a statement, Hydro One expressed its condolences to the victims' families.

"We are deeply saddened to confirm that an incident involving one of our helicopter aircraft occurred in the Tweed area and has resulted in four fatalities," Hydro One said in a statement. "Names will not be released as next of kin are being notified."

The utility also said it would do what it could to help employees and their families affected by the tragedy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed his sympathies.

"Tragic news from eastern Ontario today," Trudeau tweeted. "My deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed in the helicopter crash near Tweed."

A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board said a team of investigators was en route to the crash site and was expected to arrive by late afternoon. Board spokesman Alex Fournier said the chopper was a 1999 AS350 B2 — a single-engine helicopters often used for corporate purposes.

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