Terrace, B.C., January 29, 2024 —Northern Escape Heli-Skiing and Skyline Helicopters would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of pilot Mark McGowan and guide Lewis Ainsworth who passed away in the tragic helicopter accident north of Terrace, B.C. on January 22, 2024.
“Our dedicated staff at Northern Escape and the pilots at Skyline Helicopters, who tirelessly work with us each season, are integral members of the close-knit Northern Escape and British Columbian heli-ski community,” said John Forrest, President and General Manager of Northern Escape Heli-Skiing. “Expressing the profound grief we are experiencing is impossible. We hope you will respect the privacy of those impacted at this extremely difficult time.”
“We are devastated by the loss,” says Gareth Shanks, General Manager of Skyline Helicopters. “Mark was a phenomenal pilot and a much-loved part of the Skyline Helicopters team. His skills, friendship and good cheer will be greatly missed by our community.”
“Lewis was in his second year as a guide with us here at Northern Escape and was clearly a rising star in the industry. He was friendly, helpful, passionate and amazingly talented,” added Forrest. “Mark was an outstanding pilot and a mentor to many. I worked with him for over a decade and always enjoyed flying with him. He was a consummate professional. Our industry suffered a massive loss with the passing of these two men. Everyone who worked with them is grieving.”
A celebration-of-life ceremony is being held for Lewis Ainsworth in Vancouver, B.C. today.
The exact cause of the incident continues to be unknown; Skyline Helicopters and Northern Escape Heli-Skiing are working with the Transportation Safety Board, RCMP and other authorities to support the investigation into the cause of the incident. All updates regarding the investigation and its findings will come from these official sources.