Yukon geologist killed

The rotor blades of a helicopter killed a Yukon government geologist during a field operation on Saturday.

The rotor blades of a helicopter killed a Yukon government geologist during a field operation on Saturday.

Geoff Bradshaw, a 32-year-old mineral assessment geologist with the Yukon Geological Survey, was working in the Wernecke Mountains north of Mayo when he was struck by the blades during a routine pick up.

He died instantly, said fellow geologist Mike Burke.

“You’re dealing with something where there is no margin of error,” Burke said in an interview Tuesday.

“He had a lot of years in the bush, so it’s hard to explain why it would happen to somebody like him.”

A co-worker was with Bradshaw when he was killed.

“They were going to move to the next spot that they were looking at,” said Burke.

“People think helicopters are the most dangerous part of our job, but probably driving trucks to meet the helicopters is the most dangerous part of our job.”

Burke described Bradshaw as a unique, likeable, reliable person who brightened any situation, whenever he joined it.

“He was a go-to guy. When you wanted to get something done, Bradshaw was the one to do it.”

A native of Sechelt, British Columbia, Bradshaw moved to the Yukon in 2003 to take a job with the survey.

He had extensive experience with the territory’s mining industry, having completed a master’s degree working at the Wolverine deposit in southeast Yukon, said Burke.

Several survey staff saw grief counsellors on Tuesday.

“He was very good at his job, an excellent geologist,” said Burke.

“He was a good guy, personally and professionally.

“They don’t get much better.”

A memorial service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Mount McIntyre recreation centre in Whitehorse. (GM)

Five dead in

Dempster crash

Five men died in North Yukon Monday when a single vehicle rolled off the Dempster Highway.

RCMP from Dawson City and Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, responded to the crash roughly one kilometre south of the territorial border.

They found six adult male passengers inside a minivan at the bottom of a steep embankment.

Four of the men were dead and two were injured. Paramedics transported one of the injured men to hospital in Inuvik, NWT.

RCMP reported Tuesday that he was in stable condition.

The other injured man succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash.

The five dead men were Naoman Sidat 56, of Toronto, Ontario; Mohammed Khan Pathan, 65, of North York, ON; Mohammed Saeed, 33, of Toronto, ON; Azmay Jamil Sheikh, 38, of Markham, ON; and Khalid M. Malik of Whitehorse.

The RCMP has yet to determine if they were wearing seatbelts.

There’s nothing to indicate that alcohol was involved in the crash, said Sgt. Dan Gaudet of the Dawson City RCMP.

Speed and road conditions could have been factors and are being investigated, said Gaudet.

It’s unknown how long the van lay at the bottom of the embankment before a passing motorist discovered the crash and notified Fort McPherson RCMP with a satellite phone, he said.

“It took some time before the RCMP at Fort McPherson first arrived at scene,” said Gaudet.

“Conditions there seem to change quite rapidly.”

Dawson RCMP arrived subsequently in a Twin Otter aircraft.

Emergency medical services from Fort McPherson had already airlifted the sole survivor of the crash, a 57-year-old man from North York, ON, to Inuvik. (GM)

House fire ‘suspicious’

A Monday morning house fire in downtown Whitehorse has been deemed “suspicious” by the acting chief of the Whitehorse fire department.

Fifteen firefighters responded to the blaze on Hoge Street, behind the High Country Inn, at about 1:15 a.m., after a passing motorist noticed smoke billowing from the detached garage and warned the occupants of the house.

“When we arrived the fire was already through the roof of the garage,” said acting fire chief Warren Zakus.

Some power wires hanging in the alley behind the house were also aflame.

The garage was completely destroyed but the house only suffered damage to its vinyl siding and one of the windows, he said.

No one was injured in the fire.

“It is suspicious, in that the cause is undetermined,” said Zakus.

“We can’t find an obvious, natural cause.”

RCMP are investigating. (GM)

Man stabbed at ’98

A 31-year-old man was stabbed at the 98 Hotel on Saturday and is in serious but stable condition at Whitehorse General Hospital.

Clifford Hayes, 39, of Edmonton, is charged with aggravated assault following the attack.

Hayes appeared in court Monday and again today.

The RCMP investigation has discovered that the two men know each other.

But Sgt. Guy Rook refused to comment if the attack was related to drugs. (TQ)