Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Two survive plane crash

Small craft goes down near Lac du Bonnet

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Two men were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after a plane went down near Lac du Bonnet on Tuesday morning.

A green-and-white Cessna 180 float plane went down in a field near Lee River about 9 a.m., shortly after taking off from a lake in an area near Bird River, which is northeast of the crash site.

A spokesman with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the pilot had to make a forced landing.

"Both men survived, so we're glad to hear that," said Peter Hildebrand, regional manager. "It would be a difficult forced landing, given that it's a float plane and there was no water available to them.

"Though they didn't walk away, it certainly could have been much worse."

According to the Canadian Civil Aircraft Registry, the single-engine plane was built in 1956. It has been registered to Vernon Guttman of Whiteshell Resources since 1993.

On Tuesday night, a family member confirmed he was also the pilot, suffering a broken leg and a broken nose in the morning mishap.

There was no information available on the identity of Guttman's passenger.

Firefighters from the Lac du Bonnet volunteer department were the first to arrive at the scene.

"We were deployed through 911 to an airplane down, with two individuals trapped," said department fire chief David Lussier. He wouldn't comment on the specifics of the rescue because the crash is still being investigated.

The province's STARS-1 air-ambulance helicopter was dispatched to the region, but both men were taken to hospital by an Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries.

Weather was not a factor in the crash.

"We have some concerns about the mechanical condition of the aircraft, so we'll have to follow up to see what problems, if any, there were with the engine," said Hildebrand.

Hildebrand said planes of this size are required to go through regular mechanical inspection, typically after every 100 hours of flying or on an annual schedule. The Cessna 180 in this incident did have some maintenance work done over the winter, but Hildebrand wasn't prepared to tie that work to the cause of incident.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 12, 2013 A6

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