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UPDATE: 2 dead, 4 injured after helicopter crash near Prince George

(UPDATE: Sept. 26 @ 2:05 pm) - Northern Health has confirmed that four patients from this morning's helicopter crash near Prince George were transported to University Hospital of Northern BC for treatment.

Arthur Williams, a representative for the health authority, said all four "are reported to be in good condition" and it's expected some of the patients may be discharged from hospital today.

Liam MacDonald with the Transportation Safety Board confirmed earlier today that a team of investigators had been dispatched to the crash site.

The Bell 206L helicopter went down in a forested area near Purden Ski Village, around 60 kilometres east of Prince George off Hwy 16.

MacDonald said safety board investigators will gather information, examine the wreckage and conduct witness interviews before deciding how to classify the investigation.

Depending on how the investigation is classified, MacDonald said, the probe could take months or up to two years to complete.

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said in the Prince George RCMP's final update on the matter that it wasn't yet clear what the helicopter was doing in the area.

She noted it was a privately-owned chopper that was chartered to do some flights in the area and it was not a forestry crew on board.

With files from the Canadian Press.

<who>Photo Credit: Canadian Press

(UPDATE: Sept. 26 @ 11:40 am) - Two people have died and four others are hurt after a helicopter east of Prince George this morning.

"There was a total of six people on board the aircraft at the time of the incident," said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper. "Regrettably, two of the individuals did not survive the crash."

Victim services is working with the families of the deceased and providing ongoing support, Cooper added.

A team of TSB investigators is heading to the site where the Bell 206L helicopter went down, near Purden Ski Village off Hwy 16, around 7:45 am today.

The Prince George RCMP said the helicopters is privately owned and was chartered to do some flights in the area, but no further information is available at this time.

(UPDATE: Sept. 26 @ 10:45 am) - More information is filtering out regarding this morning's helicopter crash east of Prince George.

According to BC Emergency Health Services, at least four people were injured when the chopper went down near Purden Ski Village, a mountain resort off Hwy 16.

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said the extent of the injuries is unknown, adding that the area around the crash site has no cellphone service.

"It is going to be a little bit of a challenge for emergency crews," she explained. "It was in a more forested area that the helicopter crashed, so not easily accessible by emergency vehicles."

Cooper noted that details on the cause of the crash are still being investigated and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) would be taking the lead.

The TSB's Liam MacDonald said the agency is monitoring the situation and speaking with locals on the scene before deciding whether it will send investigators.

With files from the Canadian Press.

(Original story: Sept. 26 @ 8:45 am) - Emergency crews rushed to the scene of a helicopter crash near Prince George this morning.

The first reports of the crash, which happened near Purden Ski Village, around 60 kilometres east of Prince George, came in at 7:45 am.

“Our initial information indicates there were multiple people on board the aircraft,” said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper. “The extent of their injuries is currently unknown.”

The RCMP says details regarding the incident are still being gathered and more information will be made available as it comes in.

For now, Cooper is asking anyone driving past that area this morning to give emergency crews plenty of room to operate and travel.

NowMedia will update this story as it develops.

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