This photo of a helicopter at Cox Bay was one of several that Tofino’s manager of protective services Brent Baker forwarded to the RCMP as part of investigation now being headed by Transport Canada. (Photo courtesy of Brent Baker)

Transport Canada investigating after helicopter lands on Tofino Beach

Aircraft startles beachgoers at Cox Bay on June 14.

A helicopter that landed on a popular Tofino beach has sparked an investigation by Transport Canada.

The aircraft startled beachgoers on a sunny Sunday afternoon when it made what appeared to be a non-emergency landing at Cox Bay on June 14.

Tofino local Sophie L’Homme told the Westerly News that she was walking along nearby Chesterman Beach when the helicopter “came flying right above us.”

She said she had never seen an aircraft flying so close to the beach before and others at the beach shared in her surprise to see the helicopter land on the sand in front of a resort.

“We were really confused. I couldnt imagine landing on the beach like that for fun could be legal,” L’Homme said. “It could have injured someone without a security parameter. Cox Bay can be packed with people on a Sunday afternoon like that.”

A Transport Canada spokesperson told the Westerly that numerous complaints were received about the incident and an investigation is underway.

The spokesperson explained that Canadian Aviation Regulations state: “No person shall operate an aircraft in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger the life or property of any person.”

Helicopter operators must also comply with minimum altitudes and distances and aircraft operating procedures, according to the spokesperson.

“If it is determined that there has been a non-compliance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations, the department will take appropriate enforcement action which could include fines or suspensions,” they said.

Tofino RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Todd Pebernat said the incident was reported to police, who forwarded the information they received to Transport Canada.

“A helicopter can land on a beach if it does not create a hazard. In this case, the number of people on the beach may have made it hazardous for the helicopter to land,” Pebernat said.

The District of Tofino’s manager of protective services Brent Baker said he was at Chesterman Beach and saw the helicopter take off.

Baker said he began collecting photos from bystanders, including some that show the helicopter’s identification numbers, and sent those photos to the RCMP.

He added that helicopters and small planes occasionally land on the region’s more remote beaches, but he was surprised to see an aircraft land on such a popular beach within the municipality and believes it presented a danger to the public.

“When you have an approved landing zone, there are signs to warn the public about the possible safety hazards, warning you about debris that may fly up and all those sorts of things. When you land in a populated area where people on the beach are running to get away from it, you’re not giving people that opportunity to be as safe as possible,” Baker said.

“If it turns out that it’s legal, then that’s disappointing to me. I think people deserve the opportunity to be safe and not feel as though they’re going to be landed on, or have debris fly up and affect them in any way.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Tourist claims Tofino’s beaches have ‘gone to the dogs’

READ MORE: Tofino woman beseeches town for nude beach

READ MORE: Shorebird research strengthens push for dog ban at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

beachesTofino,Transportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDN paid $35 million in wages last year, financial statements show

Statement of financial information, including salaries and expenses, will be presented to directors

Departure Bay ferry capacity increases to 70%, says B.C. Ferries

Fifty-per-cent limit being phased out, B.C. Ferries has no current plans to provide masks

Company with Nanaimo lab gets federal approval for psychedelic drug research

Numinus’ CEO says company seeing a shift in how people look at mental health treatment

Library takes Summer Reading Club online

Children, teens, parents in Nanaimo can participate in online reading challenges and events

More than 100 apartments for seniors approved in Nanaimo’s hospital area

Development permit issued for 1125 Seafield Cres.

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read