'I just screamed': Witness rushes to crashed helicopter on Bowen Island

Chopper crashes on island

UPDATE 2 p.m.

Tony Mainwaring was falling trees in his Bowen Island yard when he saw a helicopter flying “out of control" above him.

“It just all of a sudden rotated upside down and then it came up over our house,” he says. “It was definitely rotating and out of control,” he tells Glacier Media.

Mainwaring lives near Mount Gardner and says he watched the helicopter crash just before 10 a.m. on Friday morning.

“I just couldn’t believe it was going down right behind our place and then it hit the ground,” he recalls, adding he was one of the first people on scene. "It didn’t explode, thank god."

He jumped into his truck with his friend Gordy Percer to go search for the helicopter.

“We went up into the rhubarb and started searching until we finally found it," he says.

“I just screamed and there was a guy up there and I went, ‘Oh my god, are you the pilot?’ And he said, ‘Yes,’ which totally shocked me.”

Mainwaring notes the two pilots were standing and seemed in good spirits.

“It’s just hanging there. One of the rotors is sitting right in front of the cockpit, which is totally gone, I don’t know how they got out.”

The helicopter landed on a massive tree, stopping it from going over a cliff. The two pilots were transported to the hospital.

“I did have a quick whisky afterwards,” Mainwaring says.

According to the local resident, the pilots were heading to Cypress Mountain on a job. This information has not been confirmed by officials.

ORIGINAL 11:25 a.m.

A helicopter crashed on the west side of Mount Gardner, Bowen Island just before 10 a.m. Friday morning.

The two occupants sustained no major injuries but are being transported to a hospital, said Cpl. Adam Koehle of Bowen RCMP.

"BC Emergency Health Services received a call at 9:51 a.m. for a report of a helicopter down on Bowen Island," said a communications person for BC Emergency Health Services. Patients were transported via water taxi with critical care paramedics to hospital, said BCEHS.

Bowen Island firefighters responded to the scene, which was above one of the properties past Mount Gardner Dock, said Bowen Island fire chief Aaron Hanen.

“The search and rescue is no longer active, originally a Cormorant out of Comox was deployed and then the individuals involved in the crash indicated they had no need for a rescue,” said Capt. Chelsea Dubeau, public affairs officer for the Maritime Forces.

Bowen resident Irene Paulus lives beneath where the helicopter crashed. "I heard the strange noises – it didn't sound proper for a helicopter," said Paulus. "I looked out my window and saw it looking like it was trying to land.

"And it began to spin around and spin around and then, nothing.

"I wasn't outside so I couldn't hear the crash. But the two guys outside did and I heard them running and they ran down and said 'call 911.'"

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