MOOSONEE, Ont. – Ontario’s air ambulance service is confirming four of its staff are dead after one of its helicopters crashed in a remote area of northern Ontario early this morning.
The Ornge air ambulance service is expressing “deep regret” in its statement that no one survived the crash near Moosonee.
“Everybody at Ornge is deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives,” Dr. Andrew McCallum, president and CEO of Ornge, said in the statement this morning.
“We will do whatever we can to support them at this difficult time. We will also co-operate fully with the authorities charged with investigating the accident.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted: “Condolences to the families of the four victims of the northern Ontario air ambulance crash last night. You are in my thoughts and prayers.”
Ornge said two pilots and two paramedics were on board the aircraft, but no patients.
It said the family members of those who were on board have been notified.
The air ambulance service said the Sikorsky S76 helicopter left its base in Moosonee en route to Attawapiskat at about midnight and contact was lost with the aircraft shortly after takeoff.
Provincial police in North Bay said they called in military rescue crews, who parachuted down to the “very remote bush area” where the chopper went down.
Christian Cafiti, a spokesman at the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Trenton says the helicopter crash site near Moosonee was located this morning and confirms there were no survivors.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she was “devastated” to learn of the fatal crash.
“The pilots and paramedics of Ornge provide lifesaving services in every region of this province, and my thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of these brave individuals,” she said in a statement.
“They lost their lives ensuring the people of this province receive the help they need. Their service and sacrifice will be honoured and remembered.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash. The Transportation Safety Board is sending a team of investigators to the scene.
Further details are expected to be released at a media conference to be held at Ornge headquarters later today.