ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A helicopter that crashed near a Newfoundland lake last month was preparing to land and refuel before the pilot lost control of the aircraft, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said Friday.
The federal agency shared new details about the ongoing investigation into the July 20 crash that killed one man near Thorburn Lake, about 200 kilometres northwest of St. John's.
Three men were on board the Robinson R44 light utility helicopter that had left Springdale Airport in Newfoundland on one leg of a cross-country pleasure flight.
The pilot had planned to refuel at a maintenance facility on the northeast side of the lake and completed a circuit around the gravel parking lot surrounded by trees, where he wanted to land.
TSB investigators said that as the helicopter began to climb vertically from tree-top level, the pilot lost control and the aircraft crashed into the ground.
RCMP said a 69-year-old Gambo man died at the scene. Police have said the two survivors, a 68-year-old man from Aquaforte and a 54-year-old man from St. John's, were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Witnesses at the scene provided first aid and extinguished a small fire, according to the TSB report.
Clarenville RCMP, the local fire department and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Halifax all responded to the crash.
TSB investigators were dispatched the following day to examine the crash site and interview witnesses. The helicopter was destroyed and investigators removed some instruments and components for analysis at the TSB lab in Ottawa, an agency spokesman said last month.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.