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Air transportation safety investigation A20P0080

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 9 March 2021.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Aberdeen Helicopters Ltd.
Airbus Helicopters AS 350 B2 (helicopter), C-FAHC
Stewart, British Columbia, 45 NM NNW

View final report

The occurrence

On , an Aérospatiale AStar AS350-B2 operated by Aberdeen Helicopters was conducting long lining operations 45 nm NW of Stewart, British Columbia, with one pilot on board. During initial lift off from a drill site located on a mountain, the pilot decided to set the load back down due to incoming bad weather. After the load was disconnected, the pilot departed for a staging area.

After communications with the pilot could not be established, a search was conducted. The helicopter was found approximately 1200 metres west of the drill pad on the mountain side. The helicopter was destroyed and was nearly consumed by the post impact fire. The pilot was fatally injured.

Media materials

News release


Investigation report: August 2020 collision with terrain of a helicopter northwest of Stewart, British Columbia
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB deploys an investigator to a fatal helicopter accident near Stewart, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 25 August 2020 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying an investigator to the site of a fatal helicopter accident that occurred on 17 August 2020, near Stewart, British Columbia. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Kent Wickens

Kent Wickens is a Regional Senior Investigator in the Air Investigations Branch, at the Pacific Regional Office in Richmond, British Columbia. Mr. Wickens has over 20 years of experience working as a pilot in the aviation industry. He began his aviation career as a flight instructor and moved to Northern Alberta to fly passenger and freight charters, before gaining a position with an airline. He flew there for 17 years with some time as a First Officer on the Boeing 727 and the majority of his career as a Captain on the Convair 580. Prior to joining the Transportation Safety Board in 2019, Mr. Wickens worked for 5 years as an investigator and a manager with Transport Canada’s Enforcement Branch.

Mr. Wickens holds an Airline Transport Licence – Aeroplane and has more than 8500 hours of flying experience.

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.