Winnipeg pilot among Red Lake plane crash victims
The two survivors are also from Winnipeg
A pilot from Winnipeg is among the five victims who died in a plane crash in Red Lake, Ont. Sunday night, and the only survivors of the crash are both from Winnipeg.
CBC Manitoba has confirmed the pilot is Captain Peter Traczuk.
Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Rob McDonough at the provincial police communications centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., said two pilots - a 25-year-old from Mississauga and a 34-year old from Winnipeg - were killed.
Seven people were on board. The three passengers who died in the crash have not been identified pending notification of next of kin, but police said they were a 53-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man, and a 64-year-old woman, all from Red Lake.
The two people who survived the crash are a 29-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, both of Winnipeg.
Their identities have not been released.
The Bearskin Airlines twin-engine turboprop crashed about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, just after 6:30 p.m. CST Sunday. It crashed on the approach to the Red Lake airport and burst into flames.
The community of Red Lake is devastated.
CBC Manitoba spoke to Terry Harapiak, owner of the Esso station in Red Lake, said everyone in town knew someone who died in the crash. He said his neighbour's wife is one of the victims.
"I was talking to my neighbour there, him and I were both shovelling our driveways at the same time, and he said he was going to go and pick up his wife at seven," he said. "So, I'm finding out this morning he had to have driven by that airplane and it was on fire."
Harapiak said the weather turned nasty just before the crash.
"Right around that time (it) got pretty bad," he said. "It was just one of those quick flurries (that) sort of popped up out of nowhere and it was pretty windy all day here. It was still windy around 7 o'clock."
Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board arrived Monday at the scene.
Spokesperson Peter Hildebrand said it's too early to say what caused the crash.
"They're working with the coroner right now to assist with the removal of the bodies and then that will be just about it for today," he told CBC Manitoba.
Hildebrand said a fire that followed the crash destroyed a lot of evidence, making it more difficult for investigators. He expects it will be a lengthy investigation.
Bearskin Airlines says it's doing what it can to help employees cope with the tragedy. In Thunder Bay, the company's vice president, Cliff Friesen, said the crash is affecting everyone.
"This is certainly devastating and very challenging for all of us here at Bearskin," he said. "And of course, our main concern is the families of the deceased."
Friesen said counselling is available to all employees. Friesen said the last fatal crash involving Bearskin happened 18 years ago.
Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt expressed her condolences on Twitter.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragic air accident near Red Lake last evening. Thank you to first responders," she wrote.