July 16, 2024

An Australian helicopter pilot has been killed while fighting fires in Canada.

Father Tom Frith died in a helicopter crash at an airport after he had been battling a blaze near Fort Good Hope in the Northwest Territories of the country.

Great Slave Helicopters, which is based in the territory capital Yellowknife, announced his death on Facebook.

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“He was a beacon of light, beloved by all who had the privilege of knowing him,” it said.

“Tom passed away while battling wildfire near Fort Good Hope, NT, a 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.

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“His legacy will live on in his beautiful young family and the hearts of all who knew him.”

The aircraft crashed at 2pm on Friday (local time) at Fort Good Hope airport after fighting the fire, which is around 6000 hectares in size.

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Government organisation NWT Fire said Frith “did unbelievable acts of service for this territory”.

“Our hearts are broken and our thoughts are with his friends, family, and everyone at Great Slave Helicopters in the wake of this tragedy,” a Facebook post said.

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News site CBC said the NWT chief coroner Garth Eggenberger said his remains have been recovered and taken to Edmonton for an autopsy after the “tragic” incident.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is investigating.

Fires have been burning in the remote area since last month, with hundreds of people evacuated for more than three weeks.

9News has contacted DFAT.

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