A witness says neighbours shovelled snow onto a burning plane that crashed in a field and slid into a Lloydminster home.
The Cessna P210 crashed on Saturday afternoon, killing pilot Bill Lovse, who was alone in the plane, having recently dropped off country music star George Canyon at the local airport.
Witness Brent Deschover told the Calgary Eyeopener the plane crashed as his family was moving into a home nearby.
“I heard a plane that was too close and I looked up and I seen the plane was coming down to the ground,” he recalled.
“I just thought, oh my god, I hope that guy can pull out of it.”
Before Deschover had a chance to call out to his family, the plane had crashed.
“You could see the smoke coming up on the other side of the house. My son and I jumped in the pickup truck and my wife and daughter called 9-1-1.”
Teenage boy unaware his home was on fire
When they arrived, the plane was on fire, along with the house it had crashed into. His son checked on the house and pulled out a shocked teenager who hadn’t been aware his home was on fire. Deschover and other onlookers shovelled snow onto the burning plane to put the fire out, knowing there was likely a pilot inside.
“There was really nothing we could do because the whole plane was engulfed in flames,” he said. “It’s too bad.”
A team of investigators from the Transportation Safety Board was on site much of Sunday beginning their investigation into the cause of the crash.
Kevin Psutka, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, says the Transportation Safety Board will look at whether mechanical issues, pilot error or weather were possible factors.
“ It's never a single thing that happens that causes an accident, whether it’s a car or an airplane.There’s always a chain of events that lead up to it and so their job will be over a period of time to gather as much information they can.”
Psutka says ice is a particularly big problem for smaller planes in the winter.
George Canyon 'devastated'
According to Canyon's publicist, the singer is "devastated and shaken" over the death.
"I have lost a dear friend who was not just an aviation buddy," said Canyon in a press release Sunday.
"We shared an interest in sports and often played hockey together. He and I have flown many times all over the place. I am devastated with the news and my prayers and thoughts are all with his family and friends."
Lovse had 25 years of flying experience and had sat on the High River airport board of directors for years. He leaves behind two daughters and a wife.