Civilian RCMP pilot David Brolin was killed in a helicopter crash near Cultus Lake Tuesday afternoon.
The 46-year-old pilot was the sole occupant of the Air 5 helicopter that had just completed a training exercise and was returning to base when the crash occurred, according to Chief Supt. Wayne Rideout, the RCMP E Division's deputy criminal operations officer.
RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) members were part of the training exercise and rushed Brolin to Chilliwack General Hospital (CGH), but he could not be revived.
A convoy of police vehicles headed to the site of the crash near an old military training site on Liumchen Creek Forest Service Road Tuesday afternoon and were seen rushing towards CGH soon after.
Police stopped reporters at the gate to the site on the snow-covered forestry road and would not allow anyone near the scene of the crash.
A neighbour in the area at Vance and Sleep Hollow Roads said he saw a police helicopter flying over head earlier, and then saw the ERT SUVs and pickups sirens speeding up the road.
At a press conference Tuesday, Rideout said while he did not have statistics, helicopter crashes such as this are "extremely rare" and that the pilot had "extensive experience."
"We have a number of aircraft," he said. "They receive the highest degree of maintenance and the equipment is top-notch.
"This pilot is a member of the RCMP that got up this morning and went to work to do his job," he added. "He's died on duty, and we need to ensure that his family, both immediate and extended, have the proper support. As well, we need to ensure those members of the RCMP that worked with him have proper support."
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said it would deploy a team Wednesday to investigate the crash. The TSB said in a release it "will gather information and assess the occurrence."
The BC Coroners Service is also investigating the cause of death.
"If we can identify safety issues that can be fixed, we will make those public so we can mitigate that risk in the future," TSB spokesman Bill Yearwood said.
Brolin joined the RCMP in June 2006. He leaves behind a wife and children.