Authorities now believe that the pilot who was flying the helicopter that crashed into the Fraser River in British Columbia on Friday is dead. Our sincere condolences to the family and co-workers.
Robert Christopher Woodhead, 53, of Stoney Creek, Ont., was operating a Bell 212 helicopter with a line and water bucket Friday afternoon when the aircraft went down in the Fraser River, near Lytton, B.C.
RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said Mounties believe Woodhead died soon after the chopper crashed in water 15 metres deep and with a swift current.
“We have met and spoken to the family,” Moskaluk said.
“It is believed that Mr. Woodhead perished in the river.”
Woodhead, who was based in B.C., was last seen in the water just after the crash by another pilot who was flying overhead.
That pilot tried to save Woodhead by lowering his own line and bucket into the water but the rescue attempt proved unsuccessful.
Moskaluk said search crews have recovered Woodhead’s flight helmet, as well as pieces of debris from his helicopter, but they have yet to find the man’s body in the water.
“In incidents of this nature, with the incertitude of the person’s fate, it leaves all in a suspended state of deep grief,” he said.
“Our thoughts, along with those of all British Columbians, whose lives and homes were protected in this and in past fire seasons by the courageous efforts of ground firefighters and the pilots assigned to battling these blazes, are with the Woodhead family at this time.”