Aviation News

January 11, 2012

Plane Crashes in Canada Blizzard, Killing Four

Map of North Spirit Lake Airport plane crash Ontario Canada
Four people were killed late Tuesday morning when a small passenger plane crashed in northwestern Ontario, officials said on Wednesday. One person survived the crash.

Map of North Spirit Lake Airport plane crash Ontario Canada

The accident happened at around 10 a.m. local time when a twin-engine Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft crashed near the remote First Nations community of North Spirit Lake in the northwestern region of Ontario, about 108 miles (175 kilometers) north of Red Lake, a gold-mining town.

Officials at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said the aircraft, which was operated by Keystone Air Service Limited, was carrying a pilot and four passengers. The aircraft was facing blizzard weather conditions when the aircraft crashed, about less 2/3 of a mile (1 kilometer) short of the runway while preparing to land.

The small aircraft had taken off from Winnipeg and was en-route to a small airport in North Spirit Lake. It crashed into a frozen lake and caught fire, killing all but one person on board. The survivor, identified as Brian Shead, was taken to a Winnipeg hospital in a stable condition.

Keystone Air Service Ltd. is a charter airline which is based in St. Andrews, a rural municipality in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Reports said the aircraft was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder nor a flight data recorder as airspace in the region is not strictly controlled. Such equipment is usually crucial to discover the cause of an accident.

In August 2011, twelve people were killed when First Air Flight 6560, a Boeing 737-200, crashed about five miles (eight kilometers) east of Resolute Bay, a small Inuit hamlet on Cornwallis Island in Canada’s Nunavut.