Hydro One IDs 4 employees killed in helicopter crash

Hydro One IDs 4 employees killed in helicopter crash

Hydro One has released the names of the four crew members who were killed Thursday when their helicopter crashed in eastern Ontario. 

"It is with heavy hearts that we share the names of the Hydro One employees who lost their lives in Thursday's tragic accident," the company said in a statement issued Saturday. 

One pilot and three crew members died while performing routine maintenance work on a hydro line in the municipality of Tweed, Ont., about 190 kilometres west of Ottawa.

The four workers were James Baragar, 39, Jeff Howes and Darcy Jansen, both 26, and Kyle Shorrock, 27. All were residents of southern and eastern Ontario. 

Baragar, the pilot, had been with the company since 2009. Howes and Jansen were both powerline technicians and started working at Hydro One in 2013. Shorrock was also a powerline technician since 2014. 

"Our focus continues to be on supporting the impacted families through this difficult time. A family assistance centre has been established in the municipality of Tweed," the Hydro One statement said.

"The Hydro One family extends our deepest condolences, support and care to the grieving families and loved ones of James, Jeff, Darcy and Kyle."

Families in mourning

Jansen's mother, Brenda Jansen, said her son was an outdoorsy person and an avid guitar player.

"Anyone that knew him just loved him. He was a really lovable kid," she said, adding that he had just bought a house last year and moved in with his girlfriend.

"We're going to miss him. He's going to be really missed. He touched a lot of hearts," she said.

In a statement, Howes' family said Jeff was a beloved fiancé, son, brother, grandson and friend. He loved music, fishing and adventures, his family said, but he always put his fiancée Brooke, his family and his friends first.

"He will be missed for his kind heart, contagious laughter and endless energy," his family said.

Others shared their grief on social media.

"I lost my best friend, my everything, my soul mate, the person who made my world go round," wrote Brittany Robertson, who said on Facebook she was engaged to Shorrock.

She described her fiancé as having "the biggest heart in the world" — dedicated to his family and friends and excited about his upcoming wedding.

"There are no words to describe the loss," Robertson said in her post.

The youngest of three children in his family, Shorrock loved the outdoors and a good card game, his family said in a statement.

The family added that Shorrock was working on completing his lines apprenticeship when he was killed in the crash.

At a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) briefing on Friday, investigator-in-charge Peter Rowntree said the helicopter in which they were flying was preparing to land when it lost control and crashed. While there was no cockpit voice recorder on board, officials have recovered a GPS recorder, which could provide clues to investigators into what happened. 

The owner of the property on Upper Flinton Road where the work was being done, Kim Clayton, said she heard a loud crash and saw workers rush to the tree line. She said she didn't see any smoke or fire but saw a piece of what looked like the helicopter in one of the trees.

Hydro One chief operating officer Greg Kiraly said he was "shaken and heartbroken" by the crash — the worst in the company's history. 

The pilot had an excellent record, proper training and no issues of concern. 

The TSB continues to investigate the crash.