Skip to main content

‘Heartbroken’ family of helicopter pilot killed fighting northern Alberta forest fire seeks support

The “heartbroken” family of a helicopter pilot killed on Wednesday while fighting a forest fire in northern Alberta is seeking help to support his wife and children in the wake of his death.

Ryan Gould died when his Bell 205A craft “collided with terrain during firefighting operations” near Haig Lake, the Transportation Safety Board told CTV News Edmonton.

RCMP said the 41-year-old from Whitecourt died at the scene of the crash despite life-saving efforts by forestry workers.

“Ryan was a skilled pilot and comes from a family of aviation,” the Gould family said in a statement. “He traveled and made an impact wherever he went … His blue eyes and sense of humor are unforgettable.”

Gould is survived by his wife Carlyn, his young sons Gus and Evan, his parents Eric and Gail, and his older sisters Jessie Milton and Naomi Yanik. Gould was nicknamed ‘Panda’ by his co-workers “because he was a big guy with a big heart,” the family said.

The Goulds recently bought a farm south of Whitecourt, which is 160 km northwest of Edmonton.

The family said it was unprepared for Gould’s death and is asking for donations to support Carlyn, Gus and Evan.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Alex Antoneshyn Top Stories

Stay Connected