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Helicopter struck by lightning while flying from Vancouver to Victoria

Helijet says one of its helicopters travelling from Vancouver to Victoria was hit by lightning Tuesday morning.

Rick Hill, the company’s vice president, tells CityNews the strike happened around 9:30 a.m. when the aircraft was about 10 minutes away from its destination in the Victoria harbour.

“We were in clouds. The aircraft crew descended the aircraft out of the cloud to about 1,300 feet and continued on to the destination,” he said.

He says there were 12 people on board, who, despite being shaken up, are all physically okay — something for which he commends the pilots.

“I think they did a wonderful job of getting the aircraft on the ground under the circumstances,” he said.

Hill says the full scope of the damage to the helicopter is not yet known, but it will be grounded while crews assess the situation further.

“We know that it had some tail rotor issues and I’m sure there are probably some electronic issues as well if it was a lightning strike. The whole aircraft will be completely gone over,” he said.

The vice president adds that this is not the first time a Helijet aircraft has been hit by lightning.

“I think this was probably the most significant one,” he said. “They’re very infrequent so it’s not something that happens a lot, but there have been a couple.”

Helijet and Transport Canada will now look into what happened and examine the damage to the helicopter.

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