No injuries after Coast Guard helicopter crashes near Puvirnituq, Que.

·1 min read
Johnny Qitsualuk shared this photo from Purvirnituq, Que., on Facebook Thursday afternoon. The Coast Guard later shared the same photo, reporting that the pilot was safe.  (Johnny Qitsualuk - image credit)
Johnny Qitsualuk shared this photo from Purvirnituq, Que., on Facebook Thursday afternoon. The Coast Guard later shared the same photo, reporting that the pilot was safe. (Johnny Qitsualuk - image credit)

Members of Puvirnituq's police and fire departments rushed to the scene of a crash near the community airport Thursday afternoon.

Photos posted by firefighter Willie Surusilla show that a small helicopter crashed by the runway lights near the airport for this eastern Hudson Bay community of about 1,800.

Craig Macartney, a media spokesperson for the Canadian Coast guard, said a sole passenger was on the helicopter and to his knowledge suffered "no serious injuries."

The pilot was a Transport Canada employee.

Paulusie Angyiou, Puvirnituq's mayor, said it was a sunny day with very little wind so weather was not likely the cause.

Jean-François Morin, the deputy of operations for the Nunavik Police Service, said the crash took place at about 2:30 p.m. not far from the landfill.

It's a popular berry-picking spot, he said, so many people were on hand quickly after the helicopter went down.

He said the pilot was brought to the health centre, shaken up but uninjured.

Observers said the helicopter appeared to have rolled over, with the tail and main rotors torn off.

The Coast Guard described the helicopter as a Canadian Coast Guard Bell 429, and said it was heavily damaged. The helicopter was owned by the Coast Guard and operated by Transport Canada.

The Coast Guard said it will work with Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) on the matter.

Investigators arrived in the community Friday.

Transport Canada confirmed that the TSB will lead the investigation.

"Workplace occupational health and safety is paramount, and we will cooperate fully with Employment and Social Development Canada's Labour Program and the Canadian Coast Guard in any related investigation," it said.