|A plane at Pickle Lake Airport. (QMI Agency/Michael Peake, file)
CALGARY - Three men from Quebec died after a plane flying out of an Airdrie, Alta., crashed just outside a small northwestern Ontario community Tuesday night.
About five hours after the Lake LA 250 went down just outside Pickle Lake, emergency crews from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) parachuted to the scene in a densely-bushed area.
Two were dead.
One man died after being removed from the scene and taken to hospital.
A man in his 50s, who was a passenger in the aircraft, is the sole survivor of the crash.
The names of the deceased were not officially released Wednesday, but friends and relatives identified them as 53-year-old Michel Nadeau, owner of Nadeau Air Service, Bernard Mailloux, one of his mechanics and Yannick Fournier, a restaurant owner.
Jean Fournier, who lost his nephew in the crash, was the sole survivor.
Family said Fournier asked Yannick, a 27-year-old father of two, to serve as an interpreter during the trip to Alberta to pick up the newly purchased aircraft.
"It's a shock to everyone here. We are not able to speak," Nadeau's sister-in-law, Ginette, told QMI Agency.
John Cottreau with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the aircraft originated from Airdrie on a ferry flight to Trois-Rivieres, Que. — the newly purchased plane going from the vendor to the purchaser.
The aircraft crashed about 8:30 p.m. after attempting to stop at the Pickle Lake airport, where the pilot may have gone to refuel.
"There was no emergency landing and it was on final approach to the Pickle Lake airport and in contact with the tower," Cottreau said.
It lost contact with the tower. The emergency locator transmitter received a signal, he said.
Emergency crews, including those from the Ontario Provincial Police and officers from Nishnawbe-Aski community, went by foot to find the plane guided by information from the JRCC.
About 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a Hercules flew to the site about 1.4 km south of the airport and Canadian Forces members parachuted in to find four people.
They extricated the two found alive to get medical attention, JRCC spokesman Christian Cafiti said.
JRCC crews had to travel more than 1,100 km to the scene about 530 kms north of Thunder Bay, Ont.
Cottreau said they are now tasked with talking to any witnesses, reviewing the history of the pilot and examining the debris to try to learn why the crash happened.
There was no cockpit voice recorder in the aircraft nor was one required, he said.
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