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BREAKING: Plane, helicopter collide midair northwest of Edmonton

No injuries, investigation in progress after aircraft collision in Northern Alberta

Three people have walked away unscathed from a midair crash between a plane and a helicopter just outside of Sturgeon County.

Morinville RCMP got a call about a midair collision between a plane and a helicopter west of Sandy Beach in Lac Ste Anne County at about 10:30 a.m. on July 9. (Sandy Beach is just west of Alexander First Nation and about 32 km northwest of downtown St. Albert.)

Staff Sgt. Darcy McGunigal of the Morinville RCMP described the collision as “very minor,” with both aircraft able to safely land and no injuries to anyone involved.

“They remarkably appear to have just touched each other. The impact was minor enough that they both were able to make safe, controlled landings.”

Investigators have determined that the collision involved a Bell 212 helicopter registered to LR Helicopters Inc. and a Cessna 172 registered to the Namao Flying Club and happened about 24 km northwest of Villeneuve Airport, said Liam MacDonald of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The helicopter’s pilot and lone occupant managed to land in a nearby field, while the instructor and student in the plane landed at Villeneuve Airport.

McGunigal said police spoke to the persons involved in the collision but did not lay charges.

Transportation Safety Board officials were now investigating this matter, MacDonald said. While the board does not assign blame or lay fines or charges, its investigations can lead to reports and safety recommendations.

The Namao Flying Club is based out of Villeneuve Airport and has been training pilots since 1972, its website reports. It offers flying lessons and has four Cessna 172s in its fleet.

LR Helicopters operates 15 helicopters for commercial, industrial, emergency response, and pilot training purposes across Canada, its website reports. It has bases in Calgary Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto.

The Gazette has asked the club and LR Helicopters for comment and will update this story should they respond.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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