Eel River Crossing, NB Chartered Plane Crashes, Oct 1996


Eel River Crossing, N.B. -- (CP) -- A hunting trip turned to horror yesterday when a twin-engine plane crashed in a field, killing eight Americans -- many of them police officers.
The Piper Navajo, owned by Telford Aviation of Waterville, Me., narrowly missed several homes before exploding in a fireball near Monique Drapeau's backyard.
There were no survivors.
"I ran to give help but there was nothing I could do," a shaken Drapeau said later. "I could see a man burning but I couldn't get close to the plane."
Drapeau ran back into her house but was shaking so badly she couldn't dial the phone.
"I yelled to a neighbor to call an ambulance and in about three to five minutes they were here, but there was nothing we could do about it."
The plane was en route to Bangor, Me., from Anticosti Island, Que., when it radioed it was having mechanical problems.
RCMP Insp. Jim Payne said most of the victims were Massachusetts police officers who were returning from an elk-hunting trip.
Sgt. David Tousignant of the Lowell, Mass., Police Department later confired that three active officers from the force and one who has recently retired were aboard. As for civilians, "there was at least one, possibly two."

Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1996-10-21

List of Casualties:
MICHAEL BURNS, pilot, 39, Waterville, Maine.
BART GAFFNEY, 34, his son.
Canine Officer ROBERT MARCHIONDA, 39, Dracut, Massachusetts.
Canine Officer DAVID SEAMENS, 47, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Police Lt. STEVE SMITH, 40, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Police Officer DONALD BRILL, 41, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Retired Sgt. JOHN SULLIVAN, 65, Lowell, Massachusetts.