Names of Richmond plane crash victims released
Two men killed in a fiery plane crash in Richmond, B.C., Thursday night have been identified.
Darcy Coonfer with Canadian Air Charters said the victims were company employees Jeremy Sunderland and Mathew Pedersen.
The two pilots were operating a small twin-engine cargo plane when it vanished from the radar screen four kilometres from the runway at Vancouver International Airport. The Piper Navajo aircraft was transporting blood for Canada Blood Services before it nosedived into the ground and burst into flames.
Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesman Bill Yearwood said it's too early to know what brought the plane down, but investigators will check whether a large Airbus 321 ahead of the Navajo created turbulence for the smaller aircraft.
Coonfer called the deaths a terrible tragedy, and said the names of the victims were released only at the request of their families.
Canadian Air Charters has temporarily grounded its fleet of Navajo aircraft to ensure the accident was not caused by a systemic issue with the plane itself, Coonfer said.
Friends are quoted as saying Sunderland, 28, was a charismatic young man who will be sorely missed. By Friday evening, friends had posted tributes on a Facebook profile with Sunderland's name. One friend described him as "a genuine straight-shooter that will truly be missed."
According to his profile, Sunderland celebrated his birthday on July 7, just two days before he was killed.
With files from the Canadian Press