BRITISH COLUMBIA

Washington State orchardist killed, five people survive B.C. helicopter crash

04/16/2013 11:42 EDT | Updated 06/16/2013 05:12 EDT
VANCOUVER - The family of a Washington State orchardist confirms Michael Monson has died in a helicopter crash on a remote section of B.C.'s inner coast, east of Vancouver Island.

The 48-year-old was killed Saturday evening when a helicopter carrying five passengers and one pilot crashed shortly after takeoff from the Bute Inlet area of the northern Sunshine Coast, north of Powell River.

Monson, the president of Monson Fruit, a family-based company with a 1,400 hectare orchard in Selah, just outside Yakima, WA., was trapped in the overturned and sinking wreckage.

RCMP say the 68-year-old pilot and a 44-year-old man, both from Gold River, B.C., scrambled to safety, along with two men and a woman from the U.S.

Mounties did not provide the home towns of the American survivors but say the woman is 63-years old, while the men are 37 and 71-years of age.

It's believed the group was returning from a fishing trip at the time of the crash but a cause of the accident is still under investigation. (The Associated Press)