The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is leading the investigation into the cause of a fatal plane crash near St. Brieux on the morning of May 12.
Two private aircraft collided in a rare mid-air plane crash that claimed the lives of five people on Saturday. At approximately 8:50 a.m., Wakaw RCMP received a 911 call from Jackie Mark of St. Brieux, who reported seeing a plane fall from the sky while she and her mother were having their morning coffee at home.
The two women drove toward the spot where they thought the plane went down, and found a piece of wreckage about a kilometre from their home.
When the RCMP arrived on the scene, they discovered the wreckage of two aircraft.
“A plane was found submerged in a slough by first responders during a ground search,” RCMP said. “Further investigation revealed that this aircraft collided mid-air with another aircraft. A second aircraft was located in the vicinity.”
The RCMP Underwater Recovery Team arrived on the scene, a swampy area west of St. Brieux, and remained until dusk to assist with the recovery effort. RCMP Cpl Rob King says the wreckage from the two aircraft was scattered over a large area, making it necessary for them to secure the scene until the TSB got there on Sunday.
According to police, an adult male and female were aboard a Lake Buccaneer amphibious en route from Regina to La Ronge, and two adult males and a young boy were aboard a Piper PA-28 Cherokee traveling from Calgary to St. Brieux.
Flying in the Cherokee were Eric Donovan of Mossleigh, Alberta, who runs a grain trucking company, and his 11-year-old son Wade. They were flying with pilot Denny Loree of Nanton, Alberta, who farms in the Mossleigh area. The group was on a day trip to St. Brieux to pick up parts for an air seeder.
According to an obituary published Monday in Regina’s Leader-Post, Joy Jackson, 57, and Eric Jackson, 60, were the occupants of the Buccaneer. Eric Jackson was a member of the Regina Flying Club.
The CBC contacted the Regina club’s manager, Tom Ray, who said that a mid-air crash is an extremely rare occurrence in aviation. He said the planes were in uncontrolled airspace, and that rules for altitude which normally apply to aircraft don’t apply to aircraft flying below 3,000 feet.
Ray explained there is an open radio frequency for communication between aircraft, and pilots regularly broadcast their position so other traffic can know their location, travel direction and altitude.