R-22 Down Near Campbell River


Dec 2, 2003
Chopper crash kills Nanaimo man

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By Grant Warkentin and Alli Vail
Campbell river mirroR

A 45-year-old Nanaimo man died after his helicopter plunged into the waters of McIvor Lake near Campbell River Friday.
Marc Ralph White was piloting a Robinson R22 helicopter at about 12:30 p.m. last Friday when it crashed into the west end of the lake.
"Someone saw a big crash and parts flying all over," said Glen Quarmby, part of the search and rescue team that responded to the accident.
Campbell River Search and Rescue, RCMP and some private boaters attended the crash site Friday afternoon.
A volunteer diver assisted search and rescue in recovering the helicopter pilot, but White had been underwater for about 45 minutes before he was recovered. Paramedics tried to revive the man while taking him back to shore in a small boat, but their efforts were in vain.
"There was some trauma as well - it became apparent there was no hope," Quarmby said. "He was declared dead a short time later."
Eyewitnesses said the helicopter appeared to be in trouble, sputtering as it flew into the lake and sinking soon after impact.
"By the time the splash and commotion has settled down, it was gone," said Tim Herbert.
Herbert was at Doggie Point with his 10-year-old daughter when they witnessed the helicopter crash about 500 metres away.
"We were looking right out at it," he said. "The engine was revving and sputtering on the way down. It didn't sound normal at all."
Herbert said the helicopter came low over the trees before it hit the water and sank.
"It looked like he was trying to make the landing a bit softer by hitting the water," he said.
It took only a few moments to sink, he added.
The helicopter went into the McIvor Lake skids first, and Herbert yelled for someone to call 911. Before emergency vehicles arrived on the scene, he said he saw some people get into their boats and go to the crash site to try diving for the pilot.
However, they were unable to do anything because of the water depth.
The helicopter crashed in about nine metres of water. Quarmby said it was possible to see the wreckage from the surface.
Herbert and his daughter left the beach shortly after the accident.
"(The crash) was very frightening, very surreal," Herbert said. "It's a little traumatizing. It's not something you want to see."
At first, some visitors at the public beach directly across the lake from the crash didn't even know there had been an accident.
Brad Gorham, visiting from Calgary, said he heard some noise from the direction of the accident but didn't think it was anything significant. "I heard one guy say to call 911, but I had no idea what was going on," he said.
Trish Voysey of Port McNeill arrived at the beach after the accident but overheard other people talking about the crash. She said she saw the emergency vehicles on the way to the scene.
"I thought it was just some accident on the highway," she said. "It's pretty horrible."
The B.C. Coroner's Service and the Transportation Safety Board continue their investigation.