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Aviation Investigation Report A16P0045

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 28 May 2018.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Airbus Helicopters AS 350 FX2, C-FBLW
TRK Helicopters Ltd.
Smithers, British Columbia, 82 nm NW

View final report

The occurrence

On 16 March 2016, an Airbus Helicopter AS350 BA, operated by TRK Helicopters was operating on a heli-skiing flight from the Bear Creek Lodge, British Columbia, about 82 nautical miles northwest of Smithers, British Columbia. The flight was returning to base camp when the helicopter collided with terrain on a steep snow covered slope. The helicopter was substantially damaged, but the emergency locator transmitter was not triggered to send out an emergency signal.

Media materials

News release


Limitations of the hydraulic system and pilot control input led to the March 2016 collision with terrain of a helicopter near Smithers, British Columbia
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Peter Murphy

Peter Murphy joined the Aviation Investigations Branch at the TSB Pacific regional office as a technical investigator in June 1999. During his career, Mr. Murphy worked as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) on both fixed and rotary wing, and turbine engine aircraft. He advanced his knowledge of aircraft operations by completing a Private Pilot License (PPL) in 2009, and subsequently added ratings to this license.

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 4 investigation. These investigations are limited in scope, and while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.