Coroner Service now investigating fatal helicopter crash at Fort Good Hope

Tom Frith passed away while battling an out of control wildfire, a 'testament to his unwavering courage and dedication,' says Great Slave Helicopters

The lone occupant of the helicopter that crashed at Fort Good Hope on Friday was Tom Frith, remembered as a “beacon of light, beloved by all who had the privilege of knowing him,” by his employer Great Slave Helicopters.

The company posted this statement this afternoon:

“It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge the loss of one of our own, Tom Frith. Tom passed away while battling wildfire near Fort Good Hope,  testament to his unwavering courage and dedication. As we navigate this time of sorrow, let us hold on to the memories of Tom – his smile, laughter, the love, and the countless ways he made our lives better. His legacy will live on in his beautiful young family and the hearts of all who knew him. Our heartfelt condolences to Tom’s wife, children, parents, brothers and all extended family and friends in Yellowknife and Australia. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May you find solace in the love and strength Tom shared with us all.”

Garth Eggenberger is the NWT’s chief coroner.

“We would like to express our condolences to the family, the Community of Fort Good Hope and co-workers affected by this tragic incident.”

Great Slave Helicopters switched to this profile photo last Friday after the crash at Fort Good Hope. (Photo by Sheldon McKay)

At approximately 2 p.m. Friday, Fort Good Hope RCMP received a report of a helicopter crash near the wildfire-evacuated community of Fort Good Hope.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada deployed a team of investigators following the accident involving a Bell Textron Inc. B212 helicopter, operated by Yellowknife’s Great Slave Helicopters 2018 Ltd.

After the Coroner’s statement was released, this was posted by NWT Fire’s Mike Westwick:

“Our thoughts are with the pilot’s family, friends and colleagues in the wake of this tragedy. Our hearts are broken by the loss of a member of our wildfire family. The ripples of these events spread far and wide in the firefighting community in the NWT, Canada and beyond, given the close and interwoven personal connections formed over many years. Our priority above all else is our team’s wellness.”

Westwick noted that a critical incident debriefing team was immediately dispatched to the site and counselling is available to members of our wildfire management team to help them process this incident.

“We have also ensured that any staff or contractors, regardless of which worksite they were at across the NWT, who needed time off from work were given that opportunity,” he stated.

“The safety of our firefighters and all of our wildfire management team is our highest priority, and we will continue to take every measure across the organization to put safety first.”

Frith’s remains have been recovered and have been transported to Edmonton, Alberta for an autopsy and identification, stated Chief Coroner Garth Eggenberger.

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: