Three people have been killed in a helicopter accident near Resolute Bay, Great Slave Helicopters confirmed on Monday morning.
In a short statement, Great Slave Helicopters said two members of flight crew and a wildlife biologist had passed away. The three people were not named by the company.
The aircraft, an AS350 utility helicopter, had been reported overdue at 4:45pm on Sunday. When the crew did not respond, a Twin Otter sent to fly over its last known position identified debris 22 km southwest of Resolute Bay.
Weather data from Resolute shows light snow and a temperature of around -5C that afternoon and evening, with light winds that grew stronger as the evening progressed. The company said conditions were “not favourable” as a team led by RCMP, with assistance from Trenton’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and the Canadian Rangers, began a search and rescue mission.
At 1am, a rescue team reaching the site of the accident confirmed the three people on board had passed away.
There is so far no information regarding the accident’s cause.
“We’d like to thank the RCMP, emergency management organization, the Wildlife Office of Resolute Bay and the two-man ground search and rescue team that made the trek to the wreckage site,” Great Slave Helicopters said.
“The crash site and surrounding area have been secured and will be maintained as investigators arrive.
“We share the grief of the friends and family of the victims. We request privacy for them and the company as we get through these difficult times.”
The accident, which happened near Griffith Island, was first reported earlier on Monday. The helicopter’s departure point was not immediately known.
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a statement: “This is especially hard and personal as this crash occurred during a trip to survey the Lancaster Sound polar bear population, undertaken by my Department of Environment.”
“Northerners are like family – and when tragedy strikes, it impacts us all,” said NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane. “I want to extend my sincerest condolences to the friends, family and co-workers of those who died in the Great Slave Helicopter crash. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”