Three people are dead following a helicopter crash near Resolute Bay, Nunavut, during a flight to survey the Lancaster Sound polar bear population, says premier Joe Savikataaq.
It occurred near Griffith Island and involved a Great Slave Helicopters AS350-B2.
A press release on Monday morning from Yellowknife-based Great Slave Helicopters said there were two flight crew and one wildlife biologist on board. All persons on board the helicopter died, with their names yet to be officially released.
The helicopter debris has been found around 22km southwest of Resolute Bay, the press release added.
The firm said it was notified on Sunday of an overdue aircraft. After several failed attempts to contact the aircraft, a Twin Otter plane was sent to its last known position, where the debris was then spotted.
The RCMP, along with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) and Canadian Rangers, sent a team to the crash location, and they arrived early Monday morning. That is when they confirmed all persons on board had passed away.
A spokesperson for the JRCC said the RCMP is leading the investigation into the incident.
The Transport Safety Board of Canada said it is gathering information and preparing to deploy resources to the area.
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a statement on Monday that he was
“devastated to the hear news of a fatal helicopter crash.”
“This is especially hard and personal, as this crash occurred during a trip to survey the Lancaster Sound polar bear population, undertaken by my Department of Environment,” the premier said.
“As the RCMP work to determine the cause of the crash, I ask you to please keep the victims and their loved ones in your thoughts. Out of respect to those involved, we will not release names until all next of kin are notified.”
In a tweet, N.W.T. Premier Caroline Cochrane expressed her condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of those who lost their lives in the crash.
“Northerners are like family — and when tragedy strikes, it impacts us all,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”