Experienced Kiwi mountaineer killed in Canadian helicopter crash

by Kim Bowden - Jan 29, 2024

A well-known Kiwi mountaineer has been confirmed as one of the four dead following a helicopter crash in a remote area of Canada last week.

The family of Lewis Ainsworth says they are "hearthbroken" by the 35 year old's death. 

Mr Ainsworth was the president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association and accredited by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.

He was on board the helicopter in a professional capacity as a heli-ski guide for Northern Escape Helicopter-Ski, which operates in British Columbia.

The cause of the crash remains unknown and is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"Lewis, who was internationally recognised for his expertise and skills in the mountains, has previously worked as a mountain guide for Alpine Guides Aoraki Mt Cook, the Aoraki/Mount Cook Search and Rescue team, as a ski patroller, an avalanche forecaster, and a hard ice glacier guide," a statement on behalf of Mr Ainsworth’s family says.

"Lewis is a highly respected member of the New Zealand and international mountaineering and skiing community. He is loved by many and will be dearly missed by all those who have been fortunate enough to know Lewis and have shared in his passion for being in the mountains."

The family has thanked "all who have been involved in the search and rescue operation and medical care of Lewis over the past week”.

The helicopter went down near the town of Terrace, about 110 kilometres from the Alaskan border, on Monday, January 22.

Aboard were seven people, three of whom remain critically injured, according to local news reports.

Mr Ainsworth is survived by his partner Sarah, his parents Marney Ainsworth and Joe Tonner, and his 10-year-old daughter.

Main image (Supplied): Lewis Ainsworth, the president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association and an IFMGA mountain guide.



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