Campbell Helicopters

May 26, 2011 10:15 ET

Campbell Helicopters: Pilot Details Released on May 20 Helicopter Crash Near Slave Lake, Alberta

ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 26, 2011) - 54-year-old Jean-Luc Deba has been named as the deceased pilot who manned a Bell 212 helicopter from the Campbell Helicopters' fleet in Abbotsford on Friday, May 20. The helicopter was engaged in battling the blazes in Canyon Creek, 24 kilometres west of Slave Lake Alberta. The helicopter went down in shallow water at Lesser Slave Lake just before 3 p.m. MT on Friday. The fires in northern Alberta have destroyed a large portion of the homes in this area.

Jean-Luc Deba is listed as a Quebec resident who was employed by Campbell Helicopters for the upcoming fire season.

"Although a recent addition to our team, Jean-Luc was a valued member that we were looking forward to a long relationship with," says Laura Siemens, Operations Manager, Campbell Helicopters. "He was an extremely experienced and intelligent man who had much to contribute to the company both professionally and personally. We are all heartbroken with this loss."

The Abbotsford office of Campbell Helicopters was notified of the accident just before 3 p.m. PST on Friday, May 20. Following normal protocol, aerial firefighting for all commercial companies stopped in the Slave Lake area after the accident; work resumed on Saturday, May 21.

"This is a tragic time for our company, our employees and their families," says Bruce Campbell, Founding President, Campbell Helicopters. "Our hearts go out to Mr. Deba's family and friends and all the firefighters and rescuers who were involved in the rescue efforts in this tragic accident."

Campbell Helicopters is a B.C.-based commercial charter helicopter operation that has been in business for 27 years. Firefighting is a significant part of the general charter work undertaken by the company. At this time of year, Campbell says it is 100 per cent of the company's activities. In its nearly three decades of operation, the company has never experienced a serious injury or fatality.

The accident remains under investigation by the TSB. It is estimated the full investigation will take one year to complete. Campbell Helicopters has co-operated with the TSB and will continue to do so until the investigation is concluded.

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