Pickle Lake crash victims were all from Quebec
Provincial police have released the names of the three people who died in the crash of a private airplane near Pickle Lake.
The dead have been identified as Michel Nadeau, 57, who was flying the plane; and passengers Bernard Mailloux, 54, and Yanick Fournier, 27. They died when the Lake LA250 amphibian airplane slammed into the trees just east of Highway 599.
A third male passenger, aged 53, also from Trois Rivieres, Que., survived and is listed in stable condition in Winnipeg hospital.
The aircraft, which was travelling from Lac La Biche, Alta., to Trois Rivieres, was about to land at Pickle Lake Airport. The airplane had just been purchased by a Quebec resident and was being flown back to the province by Nadeau.
The pilot had contacted flight services in Thunder Bay at 7:28 p.m. Tuesday, stating that the aircraft was on final approach to Runway 27. A signal from the plane’s emergency locator transmitter was received shortly afterward.
Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Hildebrand said the pilot did not indicate anything was wrong with the aircraft at the time.
“Nothing was reported on the final and last transmission,” he said.
Weather conditions at the time were good, with very little cloud and low winds.
Local firefighters and police searched the heavily wooded area without success until about 2:30 a.m. when a Hercules aircraft pinpointed the downed aircraft, less than two kilometres east of the airport and about 150 metres off Highway 599.
Emergency personnel entered the area on foot and located the small aircraft. Four members of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre on the Hercules parachuted into the site to assist with extrication and medical attention.
TSB investigators arrived in Pickle Lake late Wednesday and are working with the OPP North West Region emergency response team on evidence retrieval from the badly damaged aircraft.
The OPP forensic identification unit is assisting the regional coroner’s office, and post-mortems are to be conducted in Kenora.
Hildebrand said investigators were working Thursday to clear debris from the wreckage, which was covered by broken trees and muskeg.
There was no voice or data recorder in the aircraft. They are not required equipment in that particular plane, he said.
Hildebrand noted that the crash survivor is a student pilot, so he may be able to provide information as to why the plane went down.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences.