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Three injured in helicopter crash

An RCMP Sergeant is calling it nothing short of a miracle all three people, including two men from Williams Lake, on board a helicopter survived a crash north of Fort St. James last week.

On May 4, a helicopter belonging to Highland Helicopters of Richmond, B.C. was working in the area near Tchentlo Lake, about 50 kilometers north of Fort St. James, when it encountered problems and crashed in a logging cut block.

“One of our officers flew into the scene with Highland Helicopters as they checked on the machine to mitigate fire risk and preserve evidence,” Sgt. Poppy Hallam, officer in charge of operations with the Fort St. James RCMP, told the Caledonia Courier. “After viewing the photos of the helicopter, it is nothing short of a miracle that these people survived and are walking around.”

Two men from Williams Lake, ages 62 and 31, survived the crash, as did a 28-year-old woman from Prince George.

They were rescued by another helicopter belonging to Highland and transported to Stuart Lake Hospital for treatment of relatively minor injuries.

“I visited with the survivors at the hospital and shared a few tears with them as the realization of what they had just been through began to sink in,” Hallam told the Caledonia Courier.  “I was so thankful to be able to be speaking with these people and knowing they would be going home to family.”

A full investigation into the crash being conducted by the Transportation Safety Board is in the data gathering phase, said Julie Leroux, media relations with the TSB Thursday.

Highland Helicopters declined to comment on the incident as it is still being investigated.

- With files from the Caledonia Courier

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