Funeral for William Mallock draws hundreds of mourners

First responders from across Canada gathered on Grand Manan Island, N.B., Wednesday to pay their respects to paramedic William "Billy" Mallock.

First responders, politicians pay final respects to "Billy," who was killed in Grand Manan plane crash

First responders from across Canada joined with hundreds of other mourners gathered on Grand Manan Island, N.B., Wednesday to pay their respects to paramedic William "Billy" Mallock.

Mallock was killed in an air ambulance crash on Saturday morning, along with pilot Klaus Sonnenberg.

Mallock had almost 20 years of service.

Members of the paramedic honour guard lined the route of the funeral procession to the Grand Manan Community School. It was the only building on the island large enough to accommodate the large group of mourners.

They were wearing a black ribbon to symbolize the loss of one of their own.

Premier David Alward, Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas, Health Minister Ted Flemming, MLAs and fire chiefs also attended the service.

Mallock's son, Doug Mallock, said his father would have been amazed by the showing of support.

He told CBC his father and Sonnenberg had flown hundreds of ambulance calls together.

"He and my dad were really good friends," he says. "I mean even in the picture we had on the casket yesterday and the one that was in the obituary he was wearing an Atlantic Charters hat. He loved to support him."

Several businesses on the island were closed during the funeral, including grocery stores and gas stations.

Mallock and Sonnenberg were killed when a twin-engine Piper PA31 belonging to Atlantic Charters crashed on its way back from Saint John at about 5 a.m. Saturday, just metres from the runway at the Grand Manan Airport.

Another pilot remains in hospital in stable condition. A registered nurse was released from hospital on Sunday.

Mallock says his dad’s bond with Sonnenberg extended to the family.

"My parents 25th anniversary would have been next week," he says. "My dad actually wanted to take my mom up flying around the island with Klaus just to look around and see the island from up in the air." 

Visitation for Sonnenberg will be held on Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 pm. to 9 pm. at St. Paul's Anglican Church. The funeral will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Grand Manan Community School.

The Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation into the crash. The plane is being shipped to a lab in Ottawa for analysis.