Two pilots and two paramedics are dead following an air ambulance crash in remote northern Canada just after midnight Friday.
A Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff in the province of Ontario, The Canadian Press reported.
The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton told CP that searchers found the crash site near Moosonee, a remote Native Canadian community on the edge of James Bay several hours directly north of Toronto.
The crew was from Ornge air ambulance service; there were no patients on board. Ornge said it grounded two other S-76 aircraft scheduled to fly on Friday.
Ornge said the helicopter left its base in Moosonee en route to Attawapiskat about midnight; contact was lost with the aircraft shortly after takeoff, CP said. It flew about a mile before crashing.
Ornge CEO Rob Giguere told a news conference the crew was “very well experienced.”
He said visibility was good and there was light rain. The families of the deceased have been notified, Ornge said.
“We express our sincere condolences to friends and families of those who have died,” said Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of Ornge.
The accident happened at about 12:11 am after the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter departed from the Ornge Moosonee base. The two pilots and two paramedics were en route to Attawapiskat to transport a patient.
At this time there is no indication what caused the crash. It will be investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
Ornge identified the four victims as Capt. Don Filliter, First Officer Jacques Dupuy and paramedics Dustin Dagenais and Chris Snowball. They are from Ontario or Quebec.