Helicopter crash kills 3 near Kapuskasing

Three people have died in a helicopter crash in a remote area of northern Ontario south of Kapuskasing.

Three people have died in a helicopter crash in a remote area of northern Ontario south of Kapuskasing.

There were no survivors in Wednesday's crash, said Chris Krepski, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

Two of the agency's investigators were on their way to the site, he said late Wednesday afternoon, adding they will start their work Thursday morning. The crash occurred 29 kilometres south of Kapuskasing.

The dead were identified as:

  • Greg Sawyer, 39, of North Bay, Ont., the pilot of the helicopter.
  • Dan Simis, 47, of Val Rita, Ont., an engineer with Tembec Inc., a forest-products company.
  • Chad McQuade, 37, of Kapuskasing, also a Tembec engineer.

Tembec, which has a regional office in Kapuskasing, had rented the Bell 206L LongRanger from owner Sunrise Helicopters Inc. A person who answered the phone at Sunrise's office in North Bay would not comment and referred questions to the Transportation Safety Board.

A Bell 206 LongRanger similar to this was involved in the crash in northern Ontario. ((Associated Press))

Provincial police from the James Bay detachment were called to the scene near Clear Lake at about 11:45 a.m. on Wednesday. They were advised of the crash by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, which dispatched a Hercules aircraft to help.

Emergency services workers were also dispatched and arrived at the scene in a Tembec helicopter. 

Staff Sgt. Jacques Picknell of the Ontario Provincial Police said the wreckage was a 45-minute hike from the nearest road.

Provincial police planned to remain at the scene to assist the TSB investigators.

With files from Radio-Canada's Frédéric Pepin and The Canadian Press