Auction to aid chopper crash survivor

The family of a survivor of a deadly helicopter crash on July 10 has organized an online auction to help pay some of their expenses. John Postma, 36, was on a routine trip as a contract employee for Environment Yukon.

The family of a survivor of a deadly helicopter crash on July 10 has organized an online auction to help pay some of their expenses.

John Postma, 36, was on a routine trip as a contract employee for Environment Yukon studying the grizzly bear population when the accident happened.

The pilot, 56-year-old Paul Rosset, was killed. A second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

Postma broke several bones in his face, including both orbital bones, his cheekbones and a maxillary bone, said his brother Robert Postma.

He broke nine ribs on the right side and punctured a lung. He broke his sternum and four lower vertebrae. One of those exploded, causing paralysis in his lower body.

Postma underwent 12 hours of spinal reconstructive surgery after being evacuated to Vancouver. He is now recovering at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver.

It could be years before they know what his eventual recovery could look like, his brother said.

“It’s a long haul ahead of him, and all of us.”

He has, however, begun to regain some sensation and movement in his lower limbs. His release date from the rehabilitation centre in tentatively set for Oct. 2.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, and Postma has little recollection of the events.

“He just said it was a really, really windy day, and things just went bad,” his brother said.

Postma’s medical expenses and ongoing rehabilitation is covered by the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

The proceeds of the planned auction will help the family with their costs to travel to Vancouver and be with him there.

The auction will be held online at from noon on Aug. 28 through midnight on Sept. 4.

There are about 50 items up for auction so far. Much of it is artwork donated by local artists, including big names like Nathalie Parenteau.

There are also vouchers available for massage, labour, and Bobcat services. And a four-hour sailing cruise in Vancouver is up for grabs.

Robert Postma has donated a one-day photography workshop for four people.

Anyone interested in donating to the auction can call Robert at 332-5913.

Financial donations can be made at any TD Canada Trust bank, account number 0568 6360928.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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