Victim in chopper crash identified as flight instructor
The woman killed in a helicopter crash at the Region of Waterloo International Airport has been identified as 29-year-old Tiffany Hanna, a flight instructor with Great Lakes Helicopters.
In a statement, Jo Anne Leyburne, general manager at Great Lakes says "We are saddened and shocked by the loss of flight instructor Tiffany Hanna who did not survive the accident…Tiffany was more than just an employee, she was a great friend and confidante. We have all lost a dear member of the Great Lakes family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all families and friends at this difficult time."
Friends say Hanna was a mother with a young child and had a real passion for flight.
The company has also identified the male on board as a student at the school, but is not releasing his name. He is being treated at Hamilton General Hospital, but no further details on his condition are being released.
Great Lakes says the helicopter was on a routine flight training exercise when the accident happened around 11:30 a.m. on Monday.
Officials say the helicopter lost power shortly after takeoff from the Waterloo Region airport, striking trees and a power line before crashing into a storm water pond on airport property.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is conducting an investigation into the crash.
There is reportedly no obvious sign of what caused the crash, and Ewan Tasker, regional senior investigator with the TSB, says they are in the very early stages of the investigation.
"We're at the information gathering stage, so what we've done is we've moved the helicopter to a facility here. We're looking at it right now. It's in a state of disassembly and we're trying to determine if there's any obvious signs of difficulties. At this point there isn't any, but we're still gathering all sorts of other information; the operation, the individual, the training, the medical records, the weather, there's a whole bunch of things to look through still."
Tasker says it could take some time to determine what happened because it takes significant analysis to determine the underlying cause and contributing factors.
There are currently two investigators working on the wreckage in a hangar at the airport.
According to the TSB the helicopter that crashed, a Robinson 22, is a very popular model, possibly the most popular for training and the model itself doesn't have a history of problems.
A memorial trust is being set up for Hanna's immediate surviving family and details will be available at greatlakeshelicopter.ca starting next week.