British Columbia

Plane crashes as fatal storm buffets coast

One pilot died and another was seriously injured when a small cargo plane crashed while landing at Powell River during the late-winter storm that blasted southwestern B.C. on Wednesday.

One pilot died and another was seriously injured when a small cargo plane crashed while landing at Powell River during the late-winter storm that blasted southwestern B.C. on Wednesday.

The twin-engine Piper Chieftan belonging to Orca Airways overshot the runway and crashed into a ravine just before 5 p.m. while trying to land on a flight from Vancouver.

There were no passengers on board.

There were strong winds at the time of the crash. And Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Bill Yearwood says investigators will look into whether the storm was a factor.



"We will try to get information on radar data, on weather, voice communication etc., to try and determine the aircraft profile before landing," he said.

Meanwhile, a fisherman is missing after a 19-metre fishboat sank in the waters off Qualicum Beach late Wednesday afternoon, after the worst of the storm front had gone through the area.

The wind was about 20 knots with four-foot seas when the B.C. Safari went down after taking on water.

Dennis Komodo of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says the first vessel to respond to the mayday arrived within half an hour of the distress call.

"By the time that vessel arrived, the B.C. Safari had already foundered and there was no sign of the skipper of that vessel among the debris. There was a deployed life raft on the surface, but there was nobody inside it."

The boat is registered to the Stanley Fishing Company, based in Burnaby.

Most power restored

The big storm knocked out power to about 15,000 people on the south B.C. coast, and B.C. Hydro crews worked through the night to restore power to most of them.

B.C. Hydro spokesperson Elisha Moreno says the storm wasn't as bad as predicted.

"Definitely, the winds didn't materialize the way they were forecast to materialize. So that's good news for us obviously," she said.

"We did have a very busy evening, especially over on Vancouver Island. Fortunately, we do have most of our customers back on, with the exception of about a thousand on Vancouver Island and just about 100 or so over here on the Mainland."

Up to four centimetres of snow fell in Burnaby, while people living in parts of Vancouver's North Shore and Coquitlam also received snow.

The snow forced officials at Simon Fraser University on Burnaby Mountain to cancel afternoon and evening classes.

Icy roads greeted many Lower Mainland motorists as they headed to work on Thursday morning. Flurries or rain showers are in the forecast for Greater Vancouver and Greater Victoria.

B.C. Ferries did cancel some trips on Wednesday afternoon, but most were back on schedule by the evening.

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