Three Die and Four Seriously Injured In Heli-skier Crash

On Jan. 22, a helicopter crashed in the Skeena Mountains, 30km north of Terrace in British Columbia, Canada. The helicopter was transporting a group of heli-skiers.

Of the seven people on board, three died and four were seriously injured. As of Monday night, the four survivors were critical but stable.

The helicopter was one of three ferrying skiers into the mountains that day. According to local sources, bad weather could have been a factor, though the exact cause of the accident is unclear.

Skeena Mountains in British Columbia is one of the largest heli skiing areas in the world.

The Skeena Mountains in British Columbia are a prime heli-skiing location. Photo: Luex


A sporting family

Some of the victims are members of well-known families from South Tyrol, Italy. According to local press, the dead includes 29-year-old Heiner Oberrauch Jr., son of the founder of Italian sporting goods chain Sportler. His older brother (and Sportler CEO), 34-year-old Jakob Oberrauch, was also on board and was seriously injured.

Thirty-five-year-old Andreas Widmann also died. Widmann’s family owns TEXmarket, a textile company founded in 1987 that specializes in cycling apparel.

The third victim was the Canadian pilot of the helicopter.

As well as Jakub Oberrauch, the other three survivors are Johannes Peer (34), the financial director of the Sportler Group, Emilio Zierock from the South Tyrolean winery Foradori, and a ski guide. Emergency services transferred them to the Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace.

The rescue was very difficult. The crashed helicopter’s black box was not functioning and rescuers searched for almost three hours to find the survivors in a snowfield. Jakob Oberracuh managed to use the (miraculously working) radio in the wrecked helicopter to help direct emergency services in the dark.

At the time of writing, a search team was still working to retrieve the bodies of those who died from the mountain.

From lef to right: Emilio Zierock, Jakob Oberrauch and Johaness Peer, three of the four injured people.

From left to right: Emilio Zierock, Jakob Oberrauch, and Johaness Peer, three of the four injured skiers. Photo:

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.