November 18, 2012
One dead, 7 injured in Manitoba plane crash
By QMI Agency
It took emergency crews much of the day to reach the scene of a plane crash north of Snow Lake, Man., in which the pilot was killed and seven men on board were injured.
Deputy mayor Rupert Klyne said contractor Gerald Strilikiwski bulldozed a road to the crash site.
"There's going to be lots of outside help coming in. Ambulances from Cranbery, Portage, Flin Flon, The Pas," Klyne said Sunday afternoon. "The whole town will be in on this to help. It's a small community and it's tight-knit."
The plane went down at 10 a.m. Sunday. A passenger called 911, saying several people were seriously injured in the crash.
The 40-year-old pilot, a Snow Lake resident, died in the crash and all seven others aboard, all adult males, the Cessna 208 Caravan were injured.
RCMP haven't released their names, pending notification of the families.
It took two hours for crews to reach the crash, in the bush about 10 km east of Snow Lake.
A Canadian Forces search and rescue Hercules was sent to the scene but thick patches of fog and occasional snow limited its use.
Pat St. Jean, owner of Franal's Snow Lake Service, served the pilots breakfast Sunday morning.
She said the Gogal brothers, Brad and Mike, were flying workers back to Winnipeg then picking up another set of workers Sunday.
"So we know the family well. So we're just kind of sitting back, waiting for more information," she said.
Those on the plane work with her husband at the the Dumas-Hudbay mine in town. About 140-150 people work in the mines, many of them contract workers who fly in and out in small planes every few weeks.
"There's just a lot of shock. It's a very close-knit community, so everybody pulls together," St. Jean said.
Gogol Air Service is the town's lone airline. Phone calls to their Snow Lake office, as well as the Gogal family's fly-in fishing lodge, were met with immediate hangups.
Transportation Safety Board (TSB) spokesman Chris Krepski said at least one TSB staffer is en route to investigate the crash. He said it's too soon to tell if the weather conditions will affect the investigator's arrival time.
Workplace Safety and Health is also en route.
In 2008, one of Gogal's Norseman planes crashed in the bush north of town. The TSB said that the crash was due to a mechanical problem and the airway was not at fault.
The community of 800 people is located about 700 km northwest of Winnipeg.