The male pilot of a helicopter that crashed Friday near Canyon Creek, about 24 kilometres west of the fire-ravaged town of Slave Lake, Alta., died at the scene.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a Bell 212 helicopter owned and operated by Campbell Helicopters of Abbotsford, B.C., went down in water about 1½ metres deep in Lesser Slave Lake, about 30 metres offshore, just after 3 p.m. MT.


An ambulance travels to the scene of the fatal helicopter crash near Canyon Creek. ((CBC))

The pilot was the only person on board. The helicopter was involved in the Alberta firefighting efforts and was under contract with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

"My heart goes out to the family of this helicopter pilot," Premier Ed Stelmach said in a news release. 

"Today’s tragic news drives home the reality that the brave men and women fighting the fires in Alberta put their lives on the line every day to keep Albertans and our communities safe."

The pilot's name has not been released.


Incident commander Len MacCharles said 12 firefighters were treated for hypothermia after the rescue efforts in cold water. ((CBC))

About 12 firefighters involved in the rescue attempt were treated for hypothermia.

They pulled the pilot to shore and tried to resuscitate him. A second group went back to the helicopter to make sure no one else was inside.

"The crews found themselves in about four feet of water. The water was extremely cold," MacCharles said.

The firefighters were treated and released.

The province will do an internal review of the incident, Alberta government spokesman Howard May said. Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board will be at the scene Saturday.