Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Investigators probe a spate of crashes

Looking for possible link between recent fatal airplane trips

  • Print

Four fatal air crashes in less than a year in Manitoba has investigators wanting to see if there is some type of link between them.

Peter Hildebrand, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's regional director, said Tuesday the latest tragic crash, which killed an adult and three children in southwestern Manitoba on Sunday, has everyone wanting to get more answers on it and other recent crashes.

"Our mandate is to advance transportation safety so if that's our mandate we want to do something about that," Hildebrand said.

"We want to see if there is something out there that has changed. I don't know the answers now, but at the outset of our investigation you don't rule out anything."

Darren Spence, 37, a crop duster based in southwestern Manitoba, was at the controls of the plane when it crashed just outside of Waskada on Sunday, killing him, his sons, 10-year-old Gage and nine-year-old Logan, and a friend of the boys, nine-year-old Dawson Pentecost.

Hildebrand said investigators have to thaw out some of the plane's equipment before they can begin to examine it.

"I know already there doesn't seem to be some sort of link, but the numbers are enough to cause us to look at what's happening," he said.

"Who knows what we might find?"

Al Graham, an 81-year-old pilot from Gimli, was flying his float plane to his remote cabin at Kapekun Lake when he crashed into the lake in May 2012. His body was later recovered.

Gilbert Bourrier, 64, and Tony Butt, 48, both of Winnipeg, were killed in a plane crash near the town of Manitou in southwestern Manitoba in August 2012. The two men were taking off in a two-seat, open-cockpit biplane bound for Winnipeg when it crashed into the community lagoon.

Pilot Mark Gogal died and seven passengers were injured when a Cessna 208 crashed near the Snow Lake airport in November 2012.

Hildebrand said there was one fatal airplane crash in Manitoba in 2010 and another in 2011, but last year there were three and this year already there has been one.

"Maybe it is a statistical blip, but we will look into it," he said.

Hildebrand said once the TSB investigation is complete, they will be send a report to Transport Canada.

Brian Williamson, a Transport Canada spokesman, said in a statement the country's aviation authority "takes all transportation accidents seriously and we are co-operating fully with the Transportation Safety Board in its investigation."

Transport Canada documents show the plane Spence was flying, a six-seater Cessna 210 built in 1963, had been registered by a Virden-based crop-dusting company one month before the crash after being transferred from a Saskatchewan crop-dusting company.

Two funds have been set up in Waskada in the wake of the air crash: The Dawson Pentecost funeral fund, and the Gage, Logan and Dawson Scholarship Fund.

Diane Woodworth, the village's municipal administrator, said one of the funds is to help defray the costs of a kid going to summer hockey camp, while the other is to help shoulder the cost of one of the boy's funeral.

Woodworth said donations can be made at any branch of the Sunrise Credit Union or cheques can be mailed to the Village of Waskada's municipal office, Waskada, MB, R0M 2E0. Cheques for the funeral fund should be made out to the Village of Waskada with funeral fund in the memo line, while donations for the scholarship fund should be made out to the Waskada Athletic Club.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 13, 2013 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets this week - Game 2 with Tim and Gary

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google