Family, Friends Remember Ornge Helicopter Crash Victim from Burlington

One of the deceased in Friday’s lethal helicopter crash in Northern Ontario, 38-year-old Chris Snowball, is being remembered in Cape Breton today. Snowball belonged to Burlington, Ont., and worked as a primary care flight paramedic in Ontario and Nova Scotia for almost 19 years. Smowball was among the four victims, two of whom were paramedics and two pilots, who died in the helicopter that crashed shortly after flying out of Moosonee, Ont. early Friday morning.

The helicopter was taking a scheduled routine flight to Attawapiskat in order to escort a patient in a Sikorsky S76 helicopter operated by Ontario’s air ambulance, Ornge. Snowball had been working in the Baddeck area for almost 20 years. One of his former colleagues, Max Taylor, alleged that Snowball made quite an impression in the years he spent in Nova Scotia. Taylor stated that “he’s going to be remembered as brave, courageous — I mean he touched a lot of people’s lives when he was in Nova Scotia and I’m sure in the past five years in Ontario, he’s done the same up there.” He added that “It’s sad. It’s a sad day for paramedics in Cape Breton, paramedics in Nova Scotia and paramedics across Canada.”

The president and CEO of Ornge, Dr. Andrew McCallum, revealed in a press conference on Friday afternoon that the helicopter crashed on Friday was one of the six Sikorsky S76 choppers owned by Ornge, and was built in 1980 and certified by Transport Canada. He stated that the five remaining S76 helicopters have been taken out of service for the time being, out of an “abundance of caution.”

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