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New Zealand mountain guide becomes 4th fatality in B.C. helicopter crash

Heli-skiing company says three bodies have now been retrieved from Terrace backcountry
Lewis Ainsworth, a guide employed by Northern Escape Heli Skiing was one of four people injured in a helicopter crash north of Terrace Jan. 22. Ainsworth, a New Zealander, succumbed to his injuries becoming the fourth fatality in the incident. (New Zealand Mountain Guides Association/Facebook)

The RCMP has confirmed a fourth person is dead following a helicopter crash in the mountains north of Terrace Jan. 22.

A radio station in New Zealand identified Lewis Ainsworth as a helicopter passenger who was originally injured and flown to hospital, but has since succumbed to his injuries.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) said Ainsworth was the 35-year-old president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association (NZMGA) and accredited by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations. He was employed as a guide by Northern Escape, the Terrace company running the expedition, RNZ said.

“The three other passengers remain in stable condition,” the RCMP said in a press release today (Jan. 29).

Northern Escape Heli Skiing reported late Sunday afternoon (Jan. 28) the mission to retrieve the bodies of the three people killed in crash last week has been completed.

“Thank you to the RCMP and the Terrace Search and Rescue team who, earlier today, led the successful recovery mission to bring back the bodies of the three people who tragically lost their lives in the helicopter accident on January 22,” the company said in a statement attributed to president John Forrest.

Previously a newspaper in Italy identified two of the others who died as Heiner Junior (Heinzl) Oberrauch and Andreas Widmann. Widmann’s family owns TEXmarket a company that specializes in cycling apparel. He was 35. Oberrauch, 29, was a son of the founder of Italian sporting goods chain Sportler.

Oberrach’s older brother and Sportler CEO Jakob Oberrauch, 34, was also injured in the crash that occurred in the mountains approximately 30 kilometres north of Terrace.

The crash remains under investigation by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, the RCMP, BC Coroners Service and

More to come.

READ MORE: Heli-skiing company ready to resume operations following fatal crash

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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