Blackcomb Helicopters – Bell 212 – Bucket Mistakenly Released

C-FWBH, a Bell 212 aircraft operated by Blackcomb Helicopters, was conducting external load operations approximately 4 nm South of Whistler (Municipal), BC (CBE9) with only the pilot on board. As a descent was initiated following the completion of the delivery of a full load of concrete, the pilot inadvertently touched the grapple Open/Close switch located on the head of the collective. A slight bump in the airframe was felt coming from the main cargo hook in the belly of the aircraft. The pilot observed that the empty bucket had released from the remote longline hook, and started to roll down slope on the hillside. The pilot alerted all workers about the situation. The bucket remained clear of the workers, and stopped downhill shortly thereafter. There were no injuries, and the bucket sustained minor damage. The aircraft returned to fuel staging.