A fatal helicopter crash in Quebec in 2011 was likely caused by a disoriented pilot, the federal Transportation Safety Board says.

Four people died in the Aug. 27, 2011 crash soon after takeoff near St-Ferdinand, Que., in the province’s Centre-du-Québec region near Drummondville

The helicopter was bound for St-Nicolas, Que., near Quebec City. It was destroyed on impact, killing the pilot and three passengers.

The pilot and owner was Yvon Beaudoin, 65, from St-Nicolas. He died along with his wife, Marie-Paule Fréchette, 67, his son Éric Beaudoin, 43, and his granddaughter, 8-year-old Mélizandre Beaudoin.

TSB spokesman Jean-Marc Ledoux said Beaudoin took off at night and had few visual references outside the helicopter. He said that could have left the pilot disoriented.

“When we’re in flight, there’s a three-dimensional environment which we’re not used to, and it can create some sensory conflicts and illusions that make spatial orientation difficult, especially at night,” Ledoux said.