Investigation begins into Newfoundland helicopter crash

An investigation is now underway into why a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter crashed off Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula, killing two people. The helicopter has not yet been found.

An investigation is underway into why a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter crashed off Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula on Wednesday, killing its crew of two.

The two were identified on Thursday as pilot Gordon Simmons, 65, and technician Carl Neal, 47, both of St. John's.

The crash happened at around 4:30 p.m. local time. The bodies were recovered by the Canadian Navy vessel, HMCS Glace Bay, at about 10 p.m. local time.

Searching for helicopter

Meanwhile, the helicopter – a 1983 Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm MBB 105 – has not been found.

"We haven't found it yet," Janice Woodford, the coast guard's regional director of communications, told CBC News on Thursday. But, once it is located, she said, "We hope that it will be able to answer most of our questions."

The Canadian Coast Guard says at this point it "has no idea" what caused the helicopter to go down in the waters off Marystown, N.L.

Woodford told the pilot was experienced and that weather probably wasn't a factor.

"There were a few flurries in the area," she said.

Routine mission

The helicopter, an MBB-105, was on a routine maintenance mission to check a land-based navigation aid near a place called Go-By-Point, about four minutes away by air. It was on its way back to Marystown when it apparently ran into trouble.

"The pilot indicated that they would be there about an hour," Woodford said. "He had filed a flight plan."

"Both men were part of the Canadian Coast Guard family," said Woodford.

She described the pilot as "extremely experienced, one of our most senior pilots."

Woodford also said the technician was also experienced and well-liked.

"It is a terrible loss."