Beacon was functional but off aboard late Quebec businessman's chopper: TSB

MONTREAL — The emergency locator transmitter aboard a helicopter piloted by a Quebec businessman who was killed in a crash last month was functional but in the off position, the Transportation Safety Board says.

Stephane Roy and his 14-year-old son Justin were reported missing on July 11 after failing to return home from a fishing trip in Lac de la Bidiere, a remote area west of La Tuque, Que. They were aboard Roy's Robinson R44 helicopter.

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Their bodies were found two weeks later after the crashed chopper was spotted around Lac Valtrie, about 230 kilometres north of Montreal.

Roy was founder and owner of Les Serres Sagami Inc., which produces greenhouse-grown tomatoes under the Savoura brand.

In a statement Friday, the safety board said the battery for the beacon was fully charged, in good condition, had a functioning antenna and would have emitted a distress signal had it been turned to the "arm" position.

But the agency noted last week the apparatus was in the "off" position.

The wreckage was found after almost two weeks of aerial searches over thick forests in the upper Laurentians.

The safety board said that a GPS and two cell phones were also found at the scene of the accident and authorities will attempt to extract relevant data from them.

It said the main rotor and tail rotor did not show the characteristic signs of an impact at full speed and further analysis is needed to determine the speed of rotation at impact.

The agency reminded pilots of the importance of turning on the emergency locator transmitter.

"This will help reduce possible delays in the deployment of search and rescue resources should an aircraft be reported missing, thereby increasing survival chances for occupants," the agency said.

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