Canadian-based air ambulance company Ornge is mourning the tragic loss of a flight crew this evening after their Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed on Friday killing four people.
The helicopter departed from its Moosonee base en route to Attawapiskat to transport a patient at approximately 12:11 a.m. on Friday, the company said in a press statement. Contact was lost with the aircraft shortly after takeoff. Four people were on board the aircraft: two pilots and two paramedics. No patients were on board.
The names of the deceased pilots and paramedics are:
- Captain Don Filliter of Skead, Ontario
- First Officer Jacques Dupuy, of Otterburn-Park, Quebec
- Primary Care Flight Paramedic Dustin Dagenais, of Moose Factory, Ontario
- Primary Care Flight Paramedic Chris Snowball, of Burlington, Ontario
“Everybody at Ornge is deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” said Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of Ornge. “We will do whatever we can to support them at this difficult time. We will also co-operate fully with the authorities charged investigating the accident.”
“Over the past few hours, we have received numerous inquiries about how our services have been affected by this accident,” McCallum said in a written statement. “Ambulance services continue to be offered by a combination of fixed wing, rotor wing and land ambulances, in partnership with EMS services. We have normal operations with our [Pilatus] PC12 fixed wing aircraft, AW139 rotor wing aircraft, and standing agreement carriers. Our Sikorsky rotor wing operations in Thunder Bay and Kenora have been taken off line until preliminary information is available from the Transportation Safety Board.”
“The downed aircraft was manufactured in 1980,” he added. “There are approximately 31 such Sikorsky aircraft of this vintage currently flying in Canada. Transport Canada regularly inspects all aircraft to certify that they are safe to fly, including Ornge’s fleet.”
At this time there is no indication what caused the accident. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been notified and will be investigating.
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