Canadian Underwriter

Fatal commercial float plane crash in Labrador lake

July 16, 2019   by THE CANADIAN PRESS

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A search is underway for four people missing after a float plane crashed into a Labrador lake on Monday, killing three of the occupants.

Jean Tremblay, president of the small Quebec airline that owns the plane, said he was informed by search and rescue officials that three of those aboard were killed, while the condition of the other four people remains unknown.

Tremblay, president of Air Saguenay, said the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was carrying four fishermen, two guides and the pilot. It left Three Rivers Lodge on Crossroads Lake, east of Schefferville, Que., Monday morning headed to a remote fishing camp on Mistastin Lake.

A De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. Photo courtesy of Dllu, Wikimedia Commons

The plane didn’t return as planned that evening.

“After one hour, the plane was still missing, and there was no news, so we engaged the emergency plan,” Tremblay said.

The pilot is an employee of Air Saguenay.

“`Our pilot has been employed with us since 2011, he’s 61 years old with more than 20,000 hours (flying experience),” Tremblay said. “He has been assigned to this specific contract with the outfitter for many years.”

A Hercules aircraft spotted the wreckage at about 5 a.m. local time Tuesday on Mistastin Lake, about 120 kilometres southwest of Nain, N.L.

“The plane was submerged and about a mile from the shore,” Tremblay said.

He said the plane had been in good working order. “There was an inspection this spring, and there were many hours (of flight) left before it was due for another inspection,” he said.

Tremblay noted the weather conditions were good on Monday.

“The Labrador coast has a bit of micro-climate, I would say, but as far as we know, the conditions were excellent everywhere.”

Maj. Mark Gough of Maritime Forces Atlantic said military rescuers are searching for survivors at the crash site.

Rescue officials said a helicopter was expected to arrive at the site Tuesday morning, and a second float plane had been dispatched to assist in search efforts.

The Canadian Transport Safety Board will investigate the crash.

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