TSB releases findings in fatal helicopter crash investigation
Published Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:03PM MDT
A Bell 212 helicopter is shown after crashing near Canyon Creek on the shore of Lesser Slave Lake, just northwest of Slave Lake on Friday, May 20, 2011. (Courtesy: CTV viewer Lorne Lukan)
A report has been released on the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into a helicopter crash that left the pilot dead, as he attempted to help battle the wildfire in the Slave Lake area last May.
On Friday, May 20, a helicopter piloted by flying veteran Jean-Luc Deba was attempting to scoop water from Lesser Slave Lake in an effort to help douse flames that had torn through the Town of Slave Lake.
A witness to the crash told CTV News at the time the helicopter seemed to ‘fall from the sky'.
"They'd been bucketing all day, and a chopper came over and he went into a hover and he tipped right sideways," Lorne Lukan said. "In seconds he went over, he went into a hover and tipped right sideways and went straight down."
Results released Thursday say ‘glassy' water conditions on the lake could have distorted Deba's vision, causing him to overestimate the altitude of his chopper as he approached the water, and there was no evidence of helicopter malfunction.
The report also stated Deba was not wearing a helmet at the time, which contributed to the severity of his injuries.
TSB officials said pilots aren't required to wear helmets, and that puts them at greater risk of injury.
CTV News spoke exclusively with his daughter in the days following the disaster, Christelle Deba said in an interview from her home in France that her father loved his work.
"He was doing his passion, and he died helping people," She said. "I think there's no [better] way to die."