Low visibility and loss of control are being blamed for a fatal Gull Lake helicopter crash last year.
The Transportation Safety Board has finished an investigation into the July 2013 crash, citing a “loss of situation awareness and control” as the cause for the crash.
Around 4 p.m. on July 1, a Bell206B headed out from Gillam bound for Gull Lake, and the pilot was headed into an area of heavy smoke due to nearby forest fires, the report said.
When the helicopter hadn’t shown up by 8:30 p.m., search and rescue teams were dispatched.
It wasn’t until the next morning crews discovered the pilot’s body and debris from the plane along the water.
Now, the TSB report is saying either rain, heavy smoke or both lowered the pilot’s visibility.
Investigators believe the pilot couldn’t see what was going on and the chopper began descending before it crashed into the water.
The company the man was flying for — St. Andrews-based Custom Helicopters Ltd. — has since made changes to the way they dispatch pilots to work in wildfire operations.