Big Stone Lake, MB Plane Crash, Aug 1949
21 KILLED IN R.C.A.F. CONSO CRASH.
BURNED WRECK FOUND IN NORTHERN MANITOBA AREA.
LAND PARTY REACHES SCENE OF TRAGEDY.
Winnipeg, Aug. 23 -- The R.C.A.F. disclosed today that all 21 persons aboard an amphibious Canso had been killed in the crash of the plane in northern Manitoba.
It was one of the worst crashes in Canadian aviation history.
Word of the tragedy emerged from Manitoba's northern wilderness after a land party from a Norseman aircraft reached the spot where the Canso had crashed Sunday while en route from Churchill, Man., to Winnipeg. The ground party reported "no survivors" among those on the Canso.
Another plane, also a Canso, has landed at Big Stone Lake, and a ground party is en route to the scene.
A Beaver aircraft from Norway House has also landed on Big Stone Lake and its party, including a doctor, a coroner and an R.C.M.P. officer, are heading for the crash.
A Canso is circling overhead making certain the ground party gets into no difficulty. The ground party plans to set up a camp near the scene.
Flt. Lt. Dave Avent of Vancouver, pilot of the aircraft which sighted the crashed plane, and Flt. Lt. Bob Flynn, Passmore, B.C. co-pilot, said there was a rise of 50 to 100 feet at the spot where the Canso crashed.
They were attracted by red markings on the plane. Part of the tail assembly was pointing skywards. Avent had been in the air about 3 1/2 hours when he sighted the machine.
Air Commodore Martin Constello, air officer commanding No. 11 group, R.C.A.F. here, said a Dakota carrying paratroopers had circled over the wreck but the partroopers saw no point in jumping.
The area is rocky and muskeg swamps are numerous. Air Commodore Costello said the crashed Canso appeared to have hit a slight rise in the ground while going in on level flight after encountering a storm.
An investigation will be held into the craft the air commodore said.
The crashed Canso was slighted at 9:35 a.m. C.D.T. today on a direct track from Churchill to Winnipeg and 80 miles east of Norway House, Man. Norway House is about 250 miles northeast of Winnipeg.
Word that the plane had been sighted climaxed a search conducted since yesterday by the R.C.A.F. after the Canso had disappeared on the 600-mile flight from Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay, to Winnipeg.
An armada of 30 searching planes either was in the hunt or preparing to join it when news of the Canso's sighting was received.
Aboard the Canso were 21 persons, seven of them crew members, four meteorological bureau men, a Canadian Press reporter and a young woman physiotherapist. Also aboard were eight Eskimos.
The plane left Winnipeg Aug. 15, piloted by Flt. Lt. FRANK J. RUSH of Winnipeg. It had been making a "jack-of-all-trades" flight through the northland and among its tasks was that of transferring four weather men stationed at the bleak Baffin Island outpost of Clyde River and picking up Eskimos convalescing from poliomvelitis at Chesterfield Inlet, N.W.T.
The Canso encountered thunderstorms after setting out from Churhill Sunday and reported heavy radio interference. R.C.A.F. authorities in Winnipeg thought it probably had set down on one of the innumerable lakes which dot the region to wait out the bad weather, which was responsible for lack of radio contact.
The last radio word received from it advised listening operators to "wait," indicating that the sending operator perhaps was pausing to make an entry in his log.
The Canso was sighted by a Dakota piloted by Flt. Lt. F. D. Avent of Vancouver. Flt. Lt. Avent left Stevenson Field here at 6:05 a.m. C.D.T., and 3 1/2 hours later reported the discovery of the crashed aircraft.
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