Thunder Bay·Audio

Vandals strike Lappe's Trout Lake helipad

The only night-certified helipad in the Lappe area, north of Thunder Bay, is no longer safe for helicopters to land at after dark.
The Lappe Services Board says a helipad in the rural area north of Thunder Bay is no longer usable at night after two acts of vandalism resulted in over $4,000 of damage to its helipad at Trout Lake. (Supplied)

The only night-certified helipad in the Lappe area, north of Thunder Bay is no longer safe for helicopters to use after dark.

The Lappe Services Board said vandalism caused more than $4,000 in damage to its helipad at Trout Lake.

Board chair Ralph Bullough said lights on top of cement pads that are used to guide air ambulances while landing at night were ripped out.

Lappe Services Board chair Ralph Bullough says the lights and posts that allow for safe night landings at the helipad have been replaced. (CBC)

"We had just gotten the pad up and qualified for night landings,” he said.

"Then, a week later, somebody on a four-wheel-drive truck tore around the landing strip and, wanting the lights, stole the pylons as well. And the pylons are very expensive, even more expensive than the lights."

The province’s air ambulance, Ornge, paid for the lights, but said it will not pay to replace them

“And now, we're not having night landings anymore,” Bullough said.

“It just rips your guts out when you think about how much effort, and the danger it puts people in."

Now, if someone is hurt in the area, that person have to wait for a land ambulance to drive in from Thunder Bay (which takes about 30 minutes), or get to the hospital another way.

Lappe has about 2,000 people living in the area, most of them on a seasonal basis.

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