08/01/2011 05:17 EDT | Updated 10/01/2011 05:12 EDT

BC Helicopter Crash: Search Underway For Bodies Near Meziadin Lake


PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. - Rescue crews are expected to retrieve the bodies of three men who died when their helicopter went down Sunday in northern B.C. as investigators try to determine what caused the crash.

A 35-year-old pilot, believed to be from Abbotsford, B.C., and passengers from Quebec and Powell River, B.C., were killed, said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

The pair had contracted the flight from Vancouver Island Helicopters to conduct geological and mining work.

After police were notified about 4 p.m. Sunday, the company flew investigators to the crash site near Meziadin Lake on Nelson Glacier, a nearly 400 kilometre drive north of Prince Rupert.

The crew landed and photographed the scene. All three people were confirmed dead.

"They went back in today to asses the site with search and rescue technicians to see what equipment would be needed to affect a recovery," Moskaluk said Monday.

"We are optimistic they will be able to complete the recovery today of the three remains."

Transport Canada has taken over the investigation with the help of RCMP and the BC Coroner's Service. The Transportation Safety Board will also play a role.

"No causal factors right now have been determined," Moskaluk said.

A statement from the company was expected later Monday.

Police are still notifying the victims' family members, so their names have not been released.