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At least three people were killed near Terrace, British Columbia, when a helicopter carrying skiers crashed, a local tour company operating the heli-skiing flight said in a statement released late Monday.
Northern Escape Heli Skiing did not immediately provide further details about the crash, saying it would be focused on assisting those affected by the accident. The company is cooperating with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and authorities investigating the cause of the incident, John Forrest, president of Northern Escape, said in the statement.
At least seven people were on board the chopper, according to David Jephson, an executive at Terrace Search and Rescue, a local volunteer rescue group. Some were hospitalized with serious injuries after the crash, he added. Other choppers in the area were converging near the crash site to help with search-and-rescue efforts as night approached.
Terrace Search and Rescue first received reports about the crash just before 4 p.m. local time, Jephson said.
Forrest said in the company statement that he and his colleagues could not “put into words the profound grief that we feel and the sorrow that our guests and our staff share.” “We are grateful to all the outside agencies and our team who jumped into action immediately after the accident,” Forrest said.
Northern Escape provides lodging services for skiers and small-group helicopter skiing and snowboarding trips, according to its website.
Terrace is a town of 12,000 residents about 70 miles from the Alaskan border. The local Mills Memorial Hospital was preparing to receive patients from the crash, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. A person at the hospital declined to comment about the incident or the conditions of the patients.