B.C. helicopter lands safely after being hit by lightning, Helijet says
October 26, 2023 By The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — A commercial helicopter with 14 people on board landed safely in Victoria on Tuesday after it was hit by lightning.
Rick Hill, the vice-president of Helijet, said the aircraft was at about 1,200 metres when it was hit by lightning, the two pilots on board took the chopper down to below the clouds and then landed without trouble in Victoria a few minutes later.
Hill said such an event is very, very rare, and in his 36 years of experiences, it’s only happened twice.
He said there were no injuries, although he’s sure that such an incident would certainly shake up those on board.
Hill said there was some damage to the aircraft, including the tail rotor, but the two pilots on board did a great job in handling the rare situation.
“I think they really did a fabulous job and relied on that training and were able to safely bring everybody to their destination,” said Hill.
Hill said staff on the ground spoke to passengers to ensure no one was hurt.
The damaged chopper is now grounded. Pilots will be debriefed and given some time to process this event, he said.
Hill said the company is working with the Transportation Safety Board to determine what happened and assess the damage to the helicopter.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Tuesday covering Greater Victoria and other parts of Vancouver Island, saying between 30 and 50 millimetres of rain was expected.