Pilot in North Okanagan helicopter crash remains unaccounted for: RCMP

14 Aug 2023 | Canada | 51 |
Pilot in North Okanagan helicopter crash remains unaccounted for: RCMP

Mounties say the pilot of a helicopter that crashed on the Shuwswap River near Mabel Lake Saturday is currently unaccounted for.

The crash happened at around 8:25 p.m. near the 27000 block of Maple Lake Road in Hupel, B.C., and four people were injured when the helicopter went down into a shallow section of the Shuswap River near Mabel Lake.

“The initial investigation determined four people were on board the helicopter when it crashed into the riverbed,”  RCMP said in a press release.

“Three of the individuals were transported to hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. One person, believed to be the pilot, left the scene in a vehicle prior to the arrival of emergency personnel and remains unaccounted for.”

Also unaccounted for, according to posts on social media, is a small golden-haired chihuahua named Chalupa belonging to one of the helicopter passengers.  If anyone finds the pup, they could also contact the police.

While the crash cause is still being investigated, the help from area residents who ran to the aid of passengers was clearly a benefit to those onboard.

One woman who lives near the crash scene described what she heard moments before the aircraft went down.

“I had been sitting on the porch and I heard the helicopter quite low, so I kind of looked over, and it just started spinning and it was quite low to the river — I thought the blades were going to come off,” resident Judy Fleming said.

“I grabbed my son-in-law, and he ran directly to the site — he was the first on scene.”

Fleming says her son-in-law helped two people escape the helicopter, while two others managed to get out on their own. Others passing by also stepped in to assist.

“He was alone down there for probably about 10 minutes and then people started pulling over to help.”

— with files from Jayden Wasney

by Global News