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Canadore instructor killed in helicopter crash

Jim Armstrong was an employee of Essential Helicopters
Jim Armstrong was an instructor in the helicopter flight training program offered by Canadore College in North Bay. (Facebook photo)

An instructor in the helicopter flight training program at Canadore College has died in a Sept. 25 helicopter crash.

Jim Armstrong was killed when the helicopter he was piloting went down near Whitchurch-Stouffville, north of Toronto, while en route to Markham’s Buttonville Airport from North Bay.

Armstrong was employed by Essential Helicopters, which partners with the college to train students as commercial helicopter pilots. Armstrong had worked at Essential Helicopters since 2010 and had been a helicopter pilot since 1998.

According to the Canadian Traffic Network, the helicopter and pilot left North Bay around 1:30 p.m. but flew into fog, which impacted visibility.

There are reports the helicopter encountered a mechanical failure before the crash. Emergency crews were called to the crash site, located in some woods, just after 3 p.m.

York Regional Police tweeted, "The pilot was the lone occupant in the aircraft. He has been pronounced deceased at the scene."

In an online statement, Essential Helicopters confirmed that one of its aircraft and a senior pilot were involved in the crash.

“We are deeply saddened to have lost a long-time friend, colleague and experienced pilot,” the statement read. “We are working closely with the Transportation Safety Board and as such will not be commenting further.

“We would like to thank all who have reached out to us to offer support. Ours is an amazing industry.”

The Transportation Safety Board investigates the causes and contributing factors in occurrences in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation.

In a follow-up post, the company said that a celebration of life would be held for Armstrong in his hometown of Sudbury on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Bring your stories and memories of an amazing person,” the post read.

– With files from