Float plane crash near Tadoussac, Que., kills 6

Six people who were on board a single-engine plane that crashed Sunday in Quebec's North Shore region have been found dead.

Crash occurred in a heavily wooded, remote area in Quebec's North Shore region

This de Havilland Beaver float plane crashed Sunday afternoon in a remote wooded area near Les Bergeronnes, Que., after taking off from Long Lake, near Tadoussac. (TSB)

Six people who were on board a single-engine plane that crashed Sunday in Quebec's North Shore region have been found dead.

Quebec provincial police confirmed the deaths Monday afternoon.

Romain Desrosiers, seen here in a promotional video for Air Saguenay, was killed when the plane he was flying crashed in Quebec's North Shore region. (Air Saguenay)
The de Havilland Beaver float plane, operated by Air Saguenay, went down in a heavily wooded area near Les Bergonnes after taking off from Long Lake near Tadoussac.

Although the Sûreté du Québec would not name any of the victims, CBC News has confirmed the identities of two: Romain Desrosiers, the pilot of the single-engine Beaver seaplane, and Emilie Delaitre, a 28-year-old woman from France.

Police said Desrosiers was an experienced pilot and the weather conditions on Sunday were optimal.

A nosedive?

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board got to the site of the plane crash on Monday afternoon.

Pierre Gavillet, an air branch investigator, told CBC News that the plane crashed into a rocky mountain.
A police helicopter was used to try to find the six people who were aboard the plane when it crashed. Their bodies were found on Monday afternoon. (Ryan Hicks/CBC)

"What we noticed at first sight is that there is not a horizontal trajectory that entered the trees. We have trees that are intact and we have a plane that is on the ground that crashed vertically, between the trees," Gavillet said, adding that the aircraft was heavily damaged.

"There was a post-impact fire. There was a fire in the cabin area."

Julie Leroux from the Transportation Safety Board said investigators will try to determine the cause of the crash.

"They will examine the wreckage, they will collect data, they will take photos for the investigation, and then they will conduct interviews with witnesses and the company," Leroux said.

Plane never returned

Police said they received a call from Air Saguenay around 2 p.m. ET on Sunday to say the plane hadn't returned at its scheduled time.

The plane went down near Les Bergeronnes, Que. (Canadian Press)
SQ spokesman Sgt. Jean Tremblay said the terrain where the crash happened is steep, and the rain throughout Monday morning made the recovery effort difficult.

The remote area is not accessible by road, meaning search crews had to travel by foot and on ATVs to reach the crash site.

The Canadian Forces base in Halifax dispatched a Cormorant helicopter on Sunday and sent in people by parachute. 

The aircraft was built in 1956. Air Saguenay said the motor in the plane was brand new.

Flight operator 'devastated'

Air Saguenay routinely flies tourists around in the area, as well as people heading to hunting and mining camps.

The De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver seaplane, as seen on the Air Saguenay website. The plane that crashed was 59 years old, but had a new engine, according to the company. (Air Saguenay)
The company's vice-president, Jean Tremblay, said the pilot had about 6,000 hours of flying experience. 

The aircraft he was flying was built in 1956. Air Saguenay said the motor in the plane was brand new.

Tremblay said this is a difficult day for the people at his company and that his thoughts are with the families of those who died in the crash.

"Everyone is devastated," he said.

The municipality of Tadoussac issued a statement Monday afternoon, offering condolences.

"Our thoughts are with the victims and their families," the statement said. "The quality of the experience and the safety aspects of the various tourist activities remain at the heart of our concerns ... The municipality of Tadoussac will follow closely the results of the investigation led by the Transportation Safety Board. This will shed light on this sad incident and will provide the necessary recommendations in order to prevent such a situation from happening again."

Commotion on radio airwaves

Recreational pilot Jean-Louis Bérubé was flying his aircraft at the time of the crash when he heard a commotion over the air traffic radio.

"There was a lot of action on the airwaves," he said. 

Bérubé said the conditions at the time were excellent for flying.

"No clouds, no wind, no fog," he said.

This is the second time an Air Saguenay seaplane has been involved in a fatal crash. 

In July 2010, four of the six people aboard a de Havilland Beaver died, in part because the pilot took off despite bad weather.


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