Three people killed in Quebec helicopter crash northeast of Montreal - InfoNews

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Three people killed in Quebec helicopter crash northeast of Montreal

Investigators look over the scene of a helicopter crash that killed three people on board in Drummondville, Que., on Friday, February 2, 2018.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
February 02, 2018 - 1:00 PM

DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. - A four-seater helicopter was travelling from Quebec's Beauce region to the Lanaudiere when it crashed in a snow-covered field near Drummondville, Que., killing all three people aboard, police said Friday.

Quebec provincial police said the crash occurred at about 9 p.m. just north of the city about 110 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The victims — two women and one man — have not yet been identified.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the helicopter was a Robinson R44 model and owned by a private company.

Police said the helicopter caught fire after a violent impact along the banks of the Saint-Francois River, in the city's Saint-Joachim-de-Courval district.

First responders had a difficult time getting to the scene because of deep snow. A snow removal machine was brought in from the city of Drummondville to help them get to the site.

Marc Descoteaux, who owns a farm not far from where the helicopter crashed, said he smelled smoke as he did some work on Thursday evening.

"It was burning smell, not a wood burning smell but more like metal or sodder," Descoteaux said in a phone interview. "Before going home, I saw a fire in the middle of a field about 800 meters from my house."

Thinking it was a snowmobile on fire, he called his nephew to go have a look. The field is considered part of the farm land, but it is devoid of any buildings.

His nephew accessed the area by snowmobile. Realizing it was a helicopter, Descoteaux said they called police.

"A helicopter at night in the neighbourhood is very rare," he said of his rural area. "We get very few cars at night, let alone helicopters."

His brother used a snowblower to make a path for the first officers and emergency personnel at the scene.

Provincial police spokesman Hugo Fournier said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash, including weather conditions last night.

Transportation Safety Board investigators have begun their investigation as well.

One of those investigators, Pierre Gavillet, said it was too soon to know whether the crash occurred at high speed.

"At first glance we try to see the marks in the snow," he told reporters at the scene. "We try to establish the flight trajectory before the impact."

Gavillet said the investigators would gather information on the weather, the pilot's qualifications and the body of the chopper, which he said was heavily damaged.

He said it wasn't clear whether the helicopter would need to be sent to the TSB's lab for further analysis.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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