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Fatal plane crash near Red Lake occurred during 'violently windy' weather (3 Photos)

Investigators couldn't determine if the pilot heard an urgent NAV Canada weather broadcast.

RED LAKE, Ont. — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has issued a safety message to pilots after investigating a fatal plane crash that occurred near Red Lake last May.

"Pilots should consider their abilities, experience and the aircraft's capabilities when planning and conducting flights, especially when gusty surface winds and moderate turbulence are forecast along the route of the flight," a TSB report states.

On May 28, a 41-year-old pilot and his 51-year-old female passenger, both from Red Lake, died in the crash of a Piper Super Cruiser aircraft at Domain Lake in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.

The man owned the aircraft, and was transporting an employee from his outpost camp at Domain Lake to another camp on Optic Lake, six kilometres away.

Canoeists on Optic Lake told investigators after the crash that they had encountered difficult paddling conditions due to strong winds and high waves. 

They later observed a plume of smoke in the direction of Domain Lake.

The aircraft had crashed into trees and granite rock near the shoreline of the lake.

According to the TSB report, two pilots in the Red Lake area described weather conditions that afternoon as "violently windy," prompting them not to fly for the remainder of the day.

NAV Canada, which operates the country's civil air navigation service, transmitted an urgent pilot weather report for the Red Lake, Sioux Lookout and Kenora areas, but TSB investigators were unable to determine whether the pilot who died in the crash had heard the broadcast.

They were also unable to conclude whether the pilot had reviewed any aviation weather information before the flight.

He had received his private pilot licence two weeks earlier, and the licence was endorsed with a seaplane rating five days before the fatal accident.

The TSB said records indicate he had accumulated about 103 hours of total flight time, and about three hours as pilot-in-command on floats.


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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