Plane crashes at North Spirit Lake
The Jan. 10 Keystone Airways plane crash in a blizzard at North Spirit Lake that killed the pilot and three passengers gets an honourable mention as Wawatay’s news story of the year.
Martha Campbell, a 38-year-old North Spirit Lake community member from Winnipeg; Colette Eisinger, 39, from Winnipeg; Ben Van Hoek, 62, from Carmen, Manitoba; and Fariborz Abasabady, the 41-year-old pilot from Lockport, Manitoba, all perished in the plane crash on the ice about one kilometre from North Spirit Lake.
Brian Shead, 36, from Winnipeg, survived the plane crash with non-life threatening injuries by crawling through the broken off tail section.
Officials said the Piper PA 31 Navajo aircraft, Flight 231, departed Winnipeg at 7:51 a.m. without incident. Once it left Winnipeg airspace, there was no radio contact with the aircraft.
As community members rushed across the lake to the crash scene, the plane was already in flames, with black smoke visible through the blizzard.
“When I got there, there was a guy, David Campbell, who was already there,” said Darcy Keesick, who saw Campbell pulling the pilot from the wreckage. “He had (the pilot) out of the cabin, and he was just in between the cabin and the engine. I went over there and … helped him drag (the pilot) away from the wreckage.”
The pilot was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson Peter Hildebrand said the cause of the crash would be difficult to determine, since the plane did not have a flight recorder and the community does not have a flight control tower.
The plane crash was the worst in northwestern Ontario since the 9-11 Wasaya Airways plane crash 10 kilometers northwest of Summer Beaver in 2003.
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