A Coast Guard helicopter that crashed two weeks ago into the M’Clure Strait on the north shore of Banks Island, Canada has been pulled from the depths of the Arctic Ocean.
On Sept. 9, the helicopter plunged into water while on a reconnaissance mission from the icebreaker Amundsen. The ship lost radio contact with the helicopter and when the Amundsen came to their last known whereabouts, they found the three victims floating on the surface.
The chopper was recovered later, hundreds of feet below the surface. Investigators are beginning to piece together what happened.
“Having the wreckage will allow us to make a more thorough examination such as engine transmission instruments and any pieces that can provide us with some clue about what could have happened,” Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Jean-Marc Ledoux said.
It could take a year or more before it’s known what caused the crash. The helicopter did not carry flight data recorders, but it did have a camera. It’s not clear if the camera was recording at the time of the crash, but if it was it could provide crucial information to investigators.
The pilot and his two passengers died of hypothermia. The CBC has learned only the pilot was wearing a full Arctic immersion suit and it was not completely zipped up. Two of the men were found without life jackets, and the third was not properly inflated.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.