Language selection

Air transportation safety investigation A20Q0015

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 1 December 2021.

Table of contents

Controlled flight into terrain

Service aérien gouvernemental of Quebec
Bell 206L-4 (helicopter), C-GSQA
Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec

View final report

The occurrence

On the morning of , 2 helicopters operated by Quebec’s Service aérien gouvernemental took off from the Montréal/St-Hubert Airport (CYHU), Quebec, at 0750 Eastern Standard Time, bound for Saint-Henri-de-Taillon, Quebec, to provide air support to a search for snowmobilers who had been reported missing the day before.

Early in the afternoon, one of the 2 helicopters, the Bell 206L-4 (registration C-GSQA, serial number 52060), was released from this assignment, and the pilot, alone on board, took off from Saint-Henri-de-Taillon at 1402, bound for the La Tuque Aerodrome (CYLQ), Quebec. Approximately 7 minutes after takeoff, the helicopter struck the frozen, snow-covered surface of Lac Saint-Jean. The aircraft was destroyed but there was no post-impact fire. Despite serious injuries, the pilot was able to egress from the aircraft and call the Service aérien gouvernemental dispatcher to report the accident.

The dispatcher notified the pilot of the 2nd helicopter involved in the search. That pilot went to the scene of the accident accompanied by 2 first responders. The helicopter landed at approximately 1445, then took off again to evacuate the injured pilot to the hospital in Roberval, Quebec.

The emergency locator transmitter in the occurrence helicopter activated. The signal was detected by the Canadian Mission Control Centre in Trenton, Ontario, at 1410:34.

Media materials

News release


Flat light contributed to the 2020 collision of a helicopter with the frozen surface of Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB deploys a team following helicopter accident near Beemer Island, Quebec

Dorval, Quebec, 22 January 2020 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators following an accident involving a Sûreté du Québec Bell 206 helicopter near Beemer Island, Quebec. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Kristina Schoos

Kristina Schoos has more than 15 years’ experience as a helicopter pilot with various 702 and 703 operators, during which she has accumulated more than 6000 hours’ flying time across the country on 6 different types of helicopters, including the Bell 206 and Aerospatiale AS350. In the course of her career, she has been responsible for flight and ground training and has worked as assistant chief-pilot. Ms. Schoos also holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.


Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.