Failure to check winds caused fatal chopper crash

Last year's fatal helicopter crash was caused by pilot error, according to a report released this week by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Last year’s fatal helicopter crash was caused by pilot error, according to a report released this week by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Paul Rosset died July 10, 2012 after losing control of the helicopter he was piloting. It crashed on Nares Mountain, close to Carcross.

The aircraft was operated by Horizon Helicopters Ltd.

Two Yukon Environment employees onboard survived the crash. John Postma was paralyzed from the waist down. The second passenger sustained minor injuries.

The three were collecting data for a grizzly bear study.

The pilot failed to check wind speeds in the area where he planned to land before attempting a landing, according to the investigation report.

“It’s a standard procedure,” said Barry Holt, an investigator with the board. “A reconnaissance pass is done so that the pilot can ascertain the winds, actually feel the winds, as he flies through the area that he’s going to approach and start a hover and land. So he can feel the winds there. It’s the only way you can really tell, because obviously you can’t see wind.”

To the best of his knowledge, the pilot usually did this, said Holt.

“But at this particular time he did not and it caught him.”

Winds in the area were high that day, and the team was prevented from inspecting some of the bear-bait sites at higher elevations because of it, according to the report.

The helicopter was on its way back to Whitehorse at the time of the incident. The pilot said that they would stop to collect data where possible at sites along the way.

At Nares Mountain the pilot slowed to a hover and began a decent.

But a gust of wind came up and the pilot lost control, causing the helicopter to fall and crash to the ground.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre received an emergency signal following the crash, and a second helicopter was dispatched with emergency personnel on board.

“The passenger in the left front seat sustained minor injuries, and was able to escape the wreckage, and then returned to the aircraft to assist with the evacuation of the rear passenger who had sustained severe injuries and was not able to extract himself from the aircraft,” according to the report.

“The left-front passenger also noted a strong fuel smell, and moved the more seriously injured passenger away from the aircraft, but, upon returning to retrieve the pilot, found the pilot to be deceased, and left him in place.”

The pilot was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

While a helmet could have lessened the trauma sustained to the head, there is no regulatory requirement to wear one.

Horizon Helicopters has implemented a safety policy following the crash that requires pilots to wear helmets.

The company did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announce the first COVID-19 related death in a press conference announcement Friday morning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
UPDATED: Yukon announces first COVID-19-related death

The person was an older Watson Lake resident with underlying health conditions, officials said

Wyatt's World for Oct. 30.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 30

Health Minister Pauline Frost insists no one who shows up at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter for dinner will go without a meal, despite no drop-in dinner service being offered starting on Nov. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Non-profits concerned as Whitehorse Emergency Shelter ends drop-in dinner service

Minister Pauline Frost insists everyone who needs one ‘will be provided with a meal.’

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. Affordability challenges is being described as being among the most pressing issues facing housing markets throughout the north in a report released Oct. 29 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Home, rent prices increasing in Whitehorse, northern housing report says

Affordability continues to be a major challenge, report says

Premier Sandy Silver talks to media in Whitehorse on March 19. According to the premier, who is also the finance minister, the Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead of the surplus it had originally predicted. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in 2019-2020

Deficit attributed to lower-than-expected revenue, higher expenses on health and social side

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and management roundtable discussion Sept. 26, 2019. During an Oct. 29 meeting, Constable highlighted a number of potential changes to the City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Work on City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw continues

Officials will look at procedures for other municipalities

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Aug. 26. Hanley said the source of the outbreak in Watson Lake may not ever be found, but contact tracing in the community continues. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
New Whitehorse COVID-19 case is unrelated to Watson Lake cluster, officials say

Chief medical officer of health says avoid indoor Halloween parties, monitor for symptoms

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.
Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
GoFundMe for Whitehorse boy hit by car on Range Road raises more than $62k in a day

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

Most Read