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Helicopter spotted in Vernon park, at Lumby dam prior to crash

Aircraft is believed to be the same one that crashed near Enderby Saturday

A helicopter was spotted landing in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, the same day a helicopter crashed near Enderby.

Several witnesses saw an R44 Chopper near Cosen’s Bay Aug. 12 in the evening.

“Seems like it matches the one that crashed in the river,” said Jessie Gottlieb, who saw the helicopter at the park at 6:45 p.m., Saturday, before it left around 7 p.m., heading up the valley towards Coldstream.

A helicopter crashed into Shuswap River in the 2700-block of Mabel Lake Road Saturday evening, shortly after 8 p.m. Emergency personnel responded with eight ambulances and three people were taken to hospital with what were believed to be non life-threatening injuries.

A neutral power line was hit and damaged, knocking power out briefly for five residences, according to BC Hydro.

One person, believed to be the pilot, left the scene in a vehicle prior to the arrival of emergency personnel and remains unaccounted for.

A Chihuahua, named Chalupa, was also aboard and did not survive the crash.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The helicopter spotted at Kal Park is believed to be the same one.

“It seemed to fly pretty low on the lake and then landed above the walking trail down to the beach,” said Sam I’am on Facebook.

“It was a group of four people (younger) and they hung out on the beach for maybe 30 minutes before taking off.”

Gottlieb thought it was strange that an aircraft landed at the park.

“Seems so dangerous to land and take off right beside a public trail.

“I didn’t catch any faces as I was hiking and looking at the views but I do recall some people not in beach attire coming out from a swim and packing up. I only caught a glimpse of a woman.”

Leonard Van Der Merwe also saw a helicopter Saturday in Lumby.

He spotted the aircraft at the BC Hydro dam around 7:40 p.m.

“We are aware of a helicopter landing on one of our structures near Wilsey Dam,” said BC Hydro public affairs officer Dave Cooper. “We don’t condone private aircraft using our assets for their own use and can confirm this is not a BC Hydro helicopter.”

RCMP have since been notified.

According to Federal Aviation Administration, the 2002 Robinson Helicopter was de-registered when exported to Canada on July 6, 2023. It was previously owned by Quicksilver Air in Alaska.

Transport Canada is aware of the incident involving the helicopter, but would not provide information regarding the aircraft due to the investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and RCMP.

“Information about aircraft registration is part of the investigation and Transport Canada cannot provide any further details at this time,” said Sau Sau Liu, senior communications advisor. “Transport Canada will follow up to verify compliance with the Civil Aviation Regulations and if it is determined that there has been non-compliance, the department will take appropriate action.”

READ MORE: Suspect sought after allegedly assaulting Vernon store employee


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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