Helicopter landing on Tofino beach probed

A private helicopter that made what looked like a non-emergency landing on a Tofino beach has sparked an investigation by Transport Canada that could result in fines and suspensions for the operators.

The helicopter landed and took off from Cox Bay, a sandy beach south of Tofino that is popular with surfers, on June 15. The landing prompted numerous calls from the public to the RCMP, which forwarded the complaints to Transport Canada.

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A number of people took pictures of the aircraft, including its identification markings.

Based on information it has received, the agency has launched an investigation.

“Under Canadian Aviation Regulations, helicopters landing in built-up areas must normally land at an airport, heliport or a military aerodrome that meets the appropriate aviation standards,” Frederica Dupuis, a Transport Canada spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

She said helicopter operators are required to comply with sections of the Canadian Aviation Regulations, which include minimum altitudes, distances and aircraft operating procedures.

“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,” Dupuis said.

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