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Three dead, four critically injured in Canadian heli-skiing crash

A 2019 photo from Northern Escape Heli-Skiing’s Facebook page (Northern Escape Heli-Skiing)
A 2019 photo from Northern Escape Heli-Skiing’s Facebook page (Northern Escape Heli-Skiing)

Three people were killed and four left critically injured after a heli-skiing crash in Canada’s British Columbia province.

The fatal accident happened on Monday when a helicopter carrying seven people hit the side of a mountain near Terrace, according to CBC News.

Two of the deceased were identified as Andreas Widmann, 35, and Heiner Oberrauch, 29. Both were tourists visiting from Italy.

John Forrest, president of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing, said at a press conference Tuesday that one of the injured passengers used a radio to call for help.

“At that time we activated our rescue protocols, including ceasing skiing activities and activating search and rescue,” said Mr Forrest. “Our other two helicopters in the area immediately responded and joined rescue efforts along with our team of guides.”

The cause of the crash is still unclear, and the incident is now under investigation. “We simply don’t know what happened,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest said his company has used that kind of helicopter, the Koala Agusta A119, for 20 years.

“Every helicopter comes with a pilot and an engineer, and the engineer maintains the helicopter daily,” he said. “So there was certainly no indication of any mechanical issues at all.”

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, expressed his condolences in a tweet.

“I join in the pain of the families who lost their loved ones in the terrible helicopter crash in Canada,” Mr Tajani said. “I have instructed our Consulate [in Vancouver] to provide maximum assistance to the injured compatriots. I sincerely wish them a speedy recovery.”