Two men missing after helicopter plunges into Quebec lake

MONTREAL — Two men are missing in the frigid waters of a Quebec lake following a helicopter crash northeast of Ottawa.

Quebec provincial police say two other passengers swam 500 metres to shore through the frosty waves of Lac Simon after the chopper went down Wednesday evening.

The missing men also climbed out of the helicopter but never made it ashore, police said.

“The four of them got out of the helicopter and they swam for the side of the lake, but just two (of them) arrived on shore,” provincial police spokeswoman Melanie Larouche said Thursday.

“The two others dived (went under), unfortunately.”

A 33-year-old man from Blainville, Que. and a 48-year-old man from Laval, Que., were treated at a local hospital for hypothermia. The older man was then released, police said.

Back at Lac Simon, police divers, local firefighters and a Canadian Forces helicopter were still scouring the lake Thursday for the pilot, a 49-year-old man from Lorraine, Que., and a 63-year-old man from the Montreal area.

A Griffon helicopter from CFB Trenton’s 424 squadron flew to the area, about 75 kilometres northeast of Ottawa, on Wednesday night.

Larouche said police still haven’t determined why the 2007 Robinson R44 model helicopter crashed. Police said the chopper belongs to the pilot, who also owns a cottage on the lake.

Several witnesses called police Wednesday around 6 p.m. when they saw the chopper drop out of the sky.

Larouche said many relatives of the missing men were gathered Thursday near the water’s edge.


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