Tuktoyaktuk, NT Commuter Plane Crashes Into Lake, Dec 1993


Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. -- (CP) -- An infant and a well-established local businessman were believed to be among seven people killed when a commuter aircraft crashed Friday into a frozen lake near this hamlet in a remote corner of the Northwest Territories.
The small, twin-engine plane crashed through ice on a lake about 12 kilometres north of the hamlet, shortly after takeoff late Friday afternoon.
Only the tail and wing sections of the plane were visible above the ice, said police. Everyone on board the plane was submerged, hampering efforts that began yesterday morning to recover the bodies.
RCMP in Tuktoyaktuk say seven people were killed on impact. There were no survivors. RCMP identified the dead as:
Pilot KEITH MANN, 27, of Vancouver.
ANNA ELIAS, 45, of Tuktoyaktuk.
JASON JACOBSON, 16, of Tuktoyaktuk.
JIMMY COCKNEY, 52, of Tuktoyaktuk.
WILLARD BROOKS, 60, of Tuktoyaktuk.
NAOMI CARDINAL, 18, of Arctic Red River.
Her two-week-old daughter, DEVAUGHN.
Investigators have been hampered by the fact there is little daylight this time of year only about four hours each afternoon in which they can work.
The streets of the hamlet were very quiet yesterday. Located on the Beaufort Sea near the northeastern tip of Alaska, Tuktoyaktuk is about 2,000 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.
"No one is coming in for coffee today," said Pierre Higgins, cook at the Tuk Inn Hotel, where investigators were staying. "I think people may be at home, they're in mourning."
Higgins said he had heard a local businessman was among the casualties. Police would not comment.
"It was a shock when I heard about it," said Higgins,a native of Montreal. "(He) was one of my favorite cutomers, I'm going to miss him."
An employee of the businessman believed to have been on board the plane described his boss as a self-made man in his mid-50s.
"He came here as a young man with nothing but a tarp. He had hitched a ride up here with a missionary and built his business.
The man had a large extended family in the region, added the employee. "There's quite a bit of shock around here."
The plane -- a twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander -- was headed for Inuvik, about 130 kiometres south of Tuktoyaktuk but reported engine problems shortly after take-off.
It may take investigators several days to piece together what happened as the small plane did not have a flight recorder, said Clyde Johnson of the federal Transportation Safety Board. It may also be difficult to pull the wreckage from the lake so investigators can get at it, he added.
Among the dead was the Vancouver-born pilot, who lived in Inuvik, three passengers from Tuktoyaktuk and two others from Fort McPherson, N.W.T., said Giles.

Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1993-12-05