Tool bag may have caused Ontario helicopter crash that killed 4:TSB


RICHMOND HILL, Ont. — The Transportation Safety Board says evidence suggests a tool bag being carried outside a Hydro One helicopter struck the rear rotor of the aircraft just prior to a crash in eastern Ontario that killed all four people on board.

The TSB says shortly before Dec. 14 crash near Tweed, Ont., the pilot picked up three linemen at the base of a tower and was transporting them to a nearby staging area.

It says a few bags used for carrying tools and supplies were being carried on a platform extending out of the right side of the helicopter. It says the bags are normally secured with double-lock carabiners.

The TSB told a news conference Thursday in Richmond Hill, Ont., that investigators  found a heavily damaged white canvas bag, with a damaged carabiner attached, and the tip of a tail rotor blade more than 600 metres away from the crash site.

The agency also says two of the three passengers seatbelts were unfastened and it says all three passengers “became separated” from the helicopter while it was still airborne.

It says weather is not being considered a factor in the crash.

The Canadian Press