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Missing helicopter pilot found dead

Sept. 22, 2011, Hope, B.C. - A helicopter pilot who went missing near Hope, B.C., last Friday has been found dead.


September 22, 2011
By Carey Fredericks


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The Aerospatiale A350 helicopter piloted by Rod Phillipson was spotted Tuesday by a Wildcat Helicopters Kelowna pilot near Coquihalla Mountain, about 190 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Canadian Forces search and rescue technicians were brought to the scene, and found Phillipson without vital signs.

"We would like to thank the communities for their support through phoning in with search tips and for their respect for the family's wishes for privacy during this difficult time," Capt. David Burneau, of 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing Comox, said in statement.

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire search team are with the family right now."

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Phillipson, 61, is believed to have taken off from Langley, B.C., about 6:30 p.m. Friday en route to a Kelowna, B.C., residence.

Four RCAF aircraft and 14 Civil Air Search and Rescue Association took advantage of good weather throughout Tuesday to search the corridor between Hope and Kelowna.

Inside the large search area, specially trained spotters been employed in aircraft required to fly low through mountain passes.

Low clouds over Hope at the time of the man's last recorded cellphone signal indicate he might have tried to fly close to the ground for safety.

The experienced pilot, said to have been flying out of Langley for at least 15 years, didn't file a flight plan but did have a flight itinerary.

The pilot who found Phillipson was manning a resupply helicopter that was doing unrelated work in the search area.


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