Search for missing helicopter pilot ends
The search for a missing helicopter pilot has ended with the discovery of the Aerospatiale A350 and its lone occupant. Unfortunately, when Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR tech) arrived on scene, the pilot Rod Phillipson, was found without vital signs.
“We would like to thank the communities for their support through phoning in with search tips and for their respect for the family’s wishes for privacy during this difficult time,” said Searchmaster, Captain David Burneau, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing Comox. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire search team are with the family right now.”
The missing Aeropatiale A350 helicopter was discovered by a resupply helicopter from Wildcat Helicopters Kelowna doing unrelated work in the search area. Upon sighting an object in the mountains, the pilot of the helicopter radioed the Kelowna-based search headquarters. A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter was dispatched to the area and a SAR tech was hoisted down and confirmed the missing pilot and helicopter had been found. The crash scene was located near Coquihalla mountain.
Transport Canada and the B.C. Coroner’s Office have been advised.
The Aerospatial A350 with its lone occupant was initially reported missing Friday evening, September 16. Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria immediately launched a search with Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft. After two days of searching, a search headquarters was established at Kelowna to concentrate resources in the search area between Hope, the aircraft’s last known whereabouts, and its destination of Kelowna.
At its height, the search involved five RCAF Search and Rescue aircraft and 15 Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) aircraft flown by volunteers. 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, from 19 Wing Comox and 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 17 Wing Winnipeg, participated in the search, as did several dozen CASARA volunteers.
Condolences to all