O'LEARY, P.E.I. -- A coast guard helicopter pilot has been schooled on the appropriate use of the aircraft after touching down in a field near a Tim Hortons in P.E.I. for a coffee fix.
The chopper landed in a barren field in O'Leary on March 16, prompting surprised onlookers to take to social media with comments about the unusual sighting and photos of the red aircraft whipping up poofs of snow as it set down.
It also caught the attention of the commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, who asked for an internal probe to determine if any unusual circumstances required the aircraft to land there.
Fisheries spokeswoman Sarah Gilbert said the fact-finding exercise found the aircraft did not have to land there for operational reasons.
Coast guard helicopters are flown by Transport Canada pilots who follow protocols that state government aircraft are to be "used safely, efficiently and with the utmost respect for taxpayer dollars," she said in an emailed statement.
"In some cases, coast guard helicopters may land in the vicinity of commercial establishments. This is only done in very remote locations, where airports or heliports are not accessible. Furthermore, it is only done when deemed safe and absolutely necessary," she said.
Gilbert said officials have instructed the pilot on aircraft usage.
"Specifically, crews have been instructed not to land at similar locations in the future," she said.
Canadian Coast Guard helicopter crew stops into an O'Leary, PEI, Tim Hortons. Causes a wee bit of a stir ;) Dwayne Barlow pic.twitter.com/iJMBdCFTfW— Tom Podolec CTV News (@TomPodolec) March 18, 2017