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Rugged Nunavut terrain searched for missing helicopter with one person aboard

 

The Canadian Press

 

CLYDE RIVER, Nunavut - A search is underway for an overdue helicopter in northern Canada.

 

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., says a Bell helicopter with only the pilot on board left Clyde River, Nunavut Monday afternoon.

 

The privately operated chopper had not arrived at Pond Inlet to north by the evening.

 

The pilot's name has not been released.

 

A C-130 Hercules transport from CFB Greenwood, N.S., started searching after the helicopter was reported overdue.

 

A Cormorant helicopter from Greenwood and a Hercules from Trenton are expected to join the search. (CJTN)

 

Content Provided By Canadian Press.

 

 

Fingers crossed for a good ending!

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By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: August 17, 2010 11:31 AM

Helicopter missing in Arctic

 

A military search is underway for a helicopter that has been missing in Nunavut's High Arctic since Monday afternoon.

 

The Bell 206L aircraft, operated by Newfoundland and Labrador-based Universal Helicopters, was on its way from Clyde River to Pond Inlet, located on the northern tip of Baffin Island. One pilot is believed to be on board.

 

The helicopter's last known position was somewhere northwest of Clyde River. Search officials say they did not receive any distress call or emergency beacon signal from the aircraft.

 

"We're going to concentrate on the last known position … based on the satellite tracking system that the aircraft was equipped with," Capt. Wayne Sinker of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., told CBC News on Tuesday morning.

 

"We will then also expand it to cover the whole track between Clyde River and Pond Inlet, if need be."

 

Pond Inlet is about 400 kilometres northwest of Clyde River.

 

Officials with Universal Helicopters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., have confirmed that their aircraft is missing.

 

Poor visibility

 

Poor visibility is hampering search efforts to date, even though hundreds of troops and aircraft are in the region for Operation Nanook, the Canadian Forces' annual Arctic sovereignty exercise.

 

Sinker said to date, only ships have been able to reach the search area.

 

"The latest report we had from the ship that's on scene, it was a half-a-mile visibility, which … is extremely low," he said, adding that there are also icebergs in the area.

 

"Not very good search conditions at the moment," he said.

 

As soon as the weather clears, a number of Hercules, Aurora and Twin Otter aircraft will join search efforts, Sinker said

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I am about 100 miles west of the area, I stand and look out my tent at the hrorendus weather here on Baffin right now and sure hope for the best. I spoke with the search plane on 26.7 a few hours ago, they are fighting bad weather and trying to get into Clyde River.

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By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: August 18, 2010 12:25 AM

Debris found in search for missing helicopter

 

Debris has been discovered near the area where a Newfoundland and Labrador helicopter went missing in Nunavut's High Arctic.

 

Naval Lieut. David Lavallee, a Canadian Forces spokesman, said there has been no confirmation on what kind of debris was found Tuesday evening.

 

He said that the debris was discovered in the Sam Ford Fjord area of Baffin Island, the last known position of the Bell 206L helicopter. Lavallee said it was spotted by a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter.

 

But bad weather has delayed the search, he said.

 

Military ships had earlier been searching for the helicopter, which has been missing since Monday afternoon.

 

One pilot is believed to be aboard the aircraft, operated by Universal Helicopters Newfoundland Ltd. of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.

 

'Very hopeful' pilot will be found

 

The helicopter was on its way to Pond Inlet, located on the northern tip of Baffin Island, from Clyde River, about 400 kilometres to the northwest.

 

Its last known position was somewhere northwest of Clyde River, according to satellite tracking equipment aboard the aircraft.

 

"Weather is very poor … around the area where he was last reported," said Norm Noseworthy, Universal Helicopters' executive vice-president. "We're very hopeful that he's just sitting there waiting for the weather to clear, and he'll be in contact with us."

 

The pilot's name has not been released. Noseworthy said the man is usually based in Halifax and has years of flying experience.

 

Poor visibility

 

Capt. Wayne Sinker of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont. said earlier that search officials did not receive any distress call or emergency beacon signal from the helicopter before it disappeared.

 

Poor visibility has hampered search efforts to date, even though hundreds of troops and aircraft are in the region for Operation Nanook, the Canadian Forces' annual Arctic sovereignty exercise.

 

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I do hope i am not offending anyone with these updates. There are also reports that the pilot's helmet has been found.

 

By CBC News, cbc.ca, Updated: August 18, 2010 3:59 PM

Arctic search continues for helicopter pilot

 

Search efforts continue along the north coast of Baffin Island for the civilian pilot of a helicopter that went missing on Monday.

 

Military search officials have confirmed that they found some wreckage of the Bell 206 Longranger helicopter that disappeared Monday afternoon between Clyde River and Pond Inlet, located on the northern tip of the Arctic island.

 

Capt. Keith Hoey of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., told CBC News that searchers aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Des Groseilliers found fuselage parts and other aircraft debris at Sam Ford Trough around 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

 

"A life raft was found [and] it had not been deployed," Hoey said.

 

Hoey said searchers from the coast guard, as well as the Canadian Rangers, are recovering the wreckage pieces, which also include the tail number associated with the missing helicopter.

 

One Halifax-based pilot was in the helicopter, owned by Universal Helicopters Newfoundland Ltd. of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.

 

"We're concentrating our search [for the male pilot] along the shoreline right now," Hoey said.

 

A Canadian Forces spokesman said fog in the area, resulting in poor visibility, has been a factor in the search. Military planes have not been able to fly into the area because of the weather.

 

A coast guard helicopter is currently scanning the area alongside the icebreaker. As well, Canadian Rangers have three boats in the water as part of the search.

 

Officials said the search will continue until they find the pilot or they have exhausted all possible leads.

 

If searchers determine there is no possibility the pilot survived, they will hand over the investigation to the RCMP.

 

The pilot's name has not been released. Staff at Universal Helicopters said he has more than 15 years of experience, including three summers of working on contract with the Newfoundland and Labrador-based company.

 

Universal Helicopters president Geoff Goodyear said Wednesday that staff at the close-knit company are saddened by the current series of events.

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