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PENTICTON -- Two helicopters abandoned on the Penticton Indian reserve Thursday, less than a quarter of a mile apart, have triggered an investigation by the RCMP, Canada Customs and Transport Canada. "Yesterday, I believe in the afternoon, there was two of our band members cutting wood on the north portion of the reserve land base," said Penticton Indian band Chief Stewart Phillip on Friday


A helicopter landed near the men, and the sole occupant jumped out with a duffel bag. When he got closer to the men, the pilot apparently said, "You're not my ride," and ran away


The men reported the incident to the tribal police, who called the RCMP


"The site was secured by the tribal police service, and this morning word was put out to the relevant agencies," Phillip said


The tribal police were to wait by the helicopter until a Kelowna team was flown in by helicopter


"They were a bit upset because the tribal police were not waiting by the helicopter as agreed, but it turns out they were waiting by a second helicopter, a short distance from the first." The helicopters were less than a quarter of a mile from each other, said Phillip, but both were hidden from view by small trees. One of the helicopter's rotors, likely from the tail of the aircraft, was broken from striking a tree


Though the pilots' identities are unknown, one of the helicopters has been traced to Vernon, and the other to New Westminster


"I don't think there is any doubt this is drug related," said Phillip. "Why else would they be up there? They landed in a very concealed location." He also pointed to a high level of interest by the various agencies -Canada Customs and Transport Canada -- and the value of the helicopters as indicators of the seriousness of the situation, suggesting a link to organized crime


The aircraft are worth an estimated $1 million, and the band is working on a seizure notice under trespassing law


Phillip wonders if band members are involved, since the men who were approached were natives


He said he thought long and hard about bringing the story forward to the media. "When you live in the middle of a situation like this and more details are coming forward each day, it becomes pretty intense," he said


He decided the public needed to be informed


"I just think we have to expose this and let all levels of government, the RCMP and the public know it's a very serious problem that we are dealing with," said Phillip, who is committed to cleaning up his community.

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One 206 and a 47J-2


A couple of nice pic's on airliners.net of the J-2 parked on the ramp

at Vernon airport not too long before this happened.


Let's see, guy buy's helo but does not know how to fly.

Get's two local pilots to take it for a spin to see if everything is ok.

Then hires lowtimer to be PIC.

Lowtimer strikes tailrotor on tree doing "confined area practise" ;)

Then abandones ship where it sits.


Things that make you go Hmmmmm


I'm sure it's all ligit :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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