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Enbridge helicopter crashes on way to Duluth, killing pilot

ODANAH, Wis. -- The pilot of an Enbridge Energy helicopter died in a crash Monday night, Oct. 29, near Odanah, Wis., in far northern Wisconsin.

Ashland County received notice of an overdue flight at approximately 8:15 p.m. The helicopter was en route from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the northeast Minnesota city of Duluth — which is about 80 miles to the west.

The helicopter was scheduled to make a brief stop in Duluth before continuing on to its final destination in Madison, Wis., — but it never arrived.

After receiving word of the missing aircraft, Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan said his department initiated a search by ground and air. The wreckage of the aircraft was discovered by a helicopter flying out of Superior, Wis., at 1:37 a.m. Tuesday.

At about 2 a.m., a ground crew was dispatched to the area. The deceased pilot and the badly damaged helicopter, an Airbus AS350, were found in a remote area of the Bad River Reservation shortly before 6 a.m.

The name of the pilot, who was identified as an Ontario, Canada, resident, has not yet been released, pending notification of his family members.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Enbridge said the pilot was an Enbridge employee and that the “flight was a part of our routine pipeline monitoring and inspection program.”

“Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family of our helicopter pilot and to his many friends and co-workers,” Enbridge said.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined. The continuing investigation will involve the Ashland County Coroner’s Office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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