×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Copter goes down killing 4 in B.C.

Crash cause unclear, probes under way

VANCOUVER — The helicopter crash which killed four last week during a Nissan commercial shoot in northern British Columbia near the Alaska and Yukon borders is now under investigation on several fronts in both the U.S. and Canada.

The federal Transportation Safety Board, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian armed forces, Canuck employment and immigration officials and film unions are all looking separately into the accident on a remote glacier.

It claimed the lives of director Paul Giraud, 47, of Malibu; first assistant cameraman Mikael Glattes, 37, of Los Angeles; grip Ivan Weber, 28, of Paris, France; and the Yukon-based chopper pilot whose name has not yet been released.

Rotor blade hit

After a rotor blade apparently hit the rugged terrain, the chopper fell into a crevasse, and burned. Search and rescue technicians were delayed after two Canuck Labrador search and rescue helicopters broke down, and rescuers had to be shuttled to the site by an American helicopter.

The first Canuck Labrador would not start, and the second broke down in Ketchikan, Alaska, en route to Llewellyn Glacier from Comox, which is hundreds of miles away in the south of British Columbia. The scene of the crash is 35 miles from Atlin, B.C., a small town which is about two-and-one-half hours south on a dead-end road from Whitehorse in the Yukon territory.

The aging fleet of Canuck choppers used in search and rescue has long been a target of criticism on both sides of the border. In an unrelated incident, an old Canuck Sea King chopper ditched and sank this weekend off Hawaii during a seven-nation war games exercise.

Questions remain

The federal Transportation Safety Board is looking into the terrain, weather, pilot fatigue level and mechanical issues to determine the cause of Thursday’s crash.

The accident was the third and most serious helicopter-related accident to occur in the B.C. and Yukon region on commercial shoots in the last six years, Tom Adair of the B.C. and Yukon Council of Film Unions told Daily Variety.

These shoots are inherently dangerous, Adair said. You can take any number of precautions, but machinery and gravity don’t always cooperate.

The chopper had been hired out of Whitehorse by Circle Prods. of Vancouver, which was working with Venice, Ca.-based HSI Prods. on the commercial.

Pre-strike plans

The commercial was planned for Canada before the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists struck the U.S. advertising industry on May 1, according to a HSI spokeswoman in Los Angeles.

Commercial production in western Canada has increased substantially since the strike began. Crews and studio space are heavily-booked, particularly in Vancouver.

Some recent shoots have been secretly and hastily organized, such as the clandestine Britney Spears commercial for McDonalds two weeks ago in suburban Vancouver, just a few miles across the border.

U.S. crew and actors are required to have permits to work in Canada, and Canadian talent has been asked to decline strike-caused runaway commercial work.

Tom Adair, the film union official, declined to comment on this aspect of the crash. It is a tragedy, he said. We sympathize with the families of the victims.

Various investigations into the cause of the crash, the rescue delays, labor practices and the need to use American aircraft are expected to generate considerable political heat in British Columbia, where an election is possible later this year.

More TV

  • Vis-a-Vis Mediapro

    Fox's Hit Spanish Drama 'Locked Up' Gets Spinoff, Launching 2020

    Fox Network Groups in Spain and Globomedia, the Barcelona-based parent company of production house The Mediapro Studio, have announced a spinoff to Mediapro’s flagship Catalan series “Vis a Vis” (“Locked Up”). Set to air on Fox networks in 2020, “Vis a Vis: El Oasis” will close the circle on narratives from the original series, bringing [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Scribe Bringing SAS Special

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Scribe Bringing Special Forces Story ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’ to TV

    Steven Knight is adapting “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” bringing the story of the elite British special forces unit to TV. Knight has enjoyed enormous success with his series “Peaky Blinders,” and also penned “Taboo” and the feature films “Locke” and “Eastern Promises.” His SAS series will be based on Ben Macintyre’s best-selling non-fiction book “SAS: Rogue [...]

  • ‘Riviera’ Renewed for Season 3 at

    ‘Riviera’ With Julia Stiles Renewed for Season 3 at Sky

    Sky has ordered a third season of “Riviera” with filming starting this fall. Julia Stiles will return as Georgina Clios and the action is set to move from France’s Cote d’Azur to an international stage. Stiles will also exec produce the new season, which was announced soon after season two launched on U.K. pay-TV platform [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content