MONTREAL -- A Quebec provincial police helicopter taking part in the search-and-rescue operation in Lac-St-Jean crashed into the water on Wednesday afternoon.

The helicopter was part of efforts to track down five missing snowmobilers who plunged through the ice in the region.

The Sûreté du Québec said a pilot conducting searches in the l'Ile Beemer sector on the eastern side of the lake crashed into the water at 2:20 p.m..

The pilot was alone on board, and was rescued by nearby colleagues. He was injured, but conscious and is expected to survive.

He was taken to Roberval hospital for treatment, the SQ said.

The police force announced late on Wednesday that the Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency, would investigate the circumstances of the crash.