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This article was published 2/8/2012 (3404 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
JEFF Martin was too shaken Thursday to speak at length about the plane crash he survived a day earlier along with his father and his dad's friend near Kenora.
He and his family are desperately trying to get his dad, Art Martin, the plane's pilot, back to Minnesota for surgery. The elder Martin, in his mid-70s, was transported in serious condition from Kenora to a hospital in Thunder Bay on Wednesday.
His father's friend, Linda May, was taken to hospital in Duluth, Minn. She was also reported to be in serious condition.
"There's too much bureaucracy in getting a plane to bring him across the border," Jeff Martin said of his dad. "He needs that operation and we want it in the States."
Art Martin was at the controls of the Cessna 180 float plane when it crashed shortly after takeoff in a wooded area near Trout Lake. All three are from Minnesota.
They were initially rushed to Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora. Jeff Martin, who suffered only minor injuries, was soon released.
When reached by telephone on Thursday, he did not want to elaborate on his father's injuries or talk about the accident.
The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the cause of the crash, said Peter Hildebrand, regional manager for the TSB in Winnipeg. Witnesses said they heard the float plane's engine cut out before it crashed into the woods around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"I noticed when (Art) was up in the air and I couldn't hear the engine anymore," said Kelly Huff, a Winnipegger who has a cottage on the lake. "Instead of the noise fading off into the distance, it just stopped."
Soon after, he said, he heard a thrashing noise as the plane hit the trees in the woods across the lake. He then saw his neighbour, Jay Gard, and Gard's friend, Larry Ingram, jump in a boat and race over to the remote crash site.
Huff and his other neighbour, Laurie Bush, soon followed in another boat.
"We could hear this faint voice of someone saying 'Help, help.' " Huff said.
That faint voice was Jeff Martin, who emerged from the crash scratched and bruised, while May and Art Martin were trapped inside. The plane, Huff said, was torn to shreds.
"The tail of the plane was 60 feet (18 metres) up in a pine tree. Both wings were sheered off... fuel was pouring out of the plane," he said.
The plane was about 1.5 metres from a rock wall, he added.
"If it had hit that rock wall, no one would have survived," Huff said.
The four people worked to free May and then Martin. Martin was trapped beneath the fuselage and Gard and Ingram had to push against it using their feet to free him, Huff said.
Huff then returned to the other side of the lake to call emergency services. He had to ferry them over to the crash site when they arrived around 9:30 a.m., since it was too rocky for their helicopter to land in the woods, he said.
Otto Kemerle used his pontoon boat to take emergency crews and then the wounded to and from shore.
When he arrived at the crash site, he said, the plane looked as if it was split in half.
"The wings are gone. The tail is high up in a tree," he said.
"(Art's) head was wrapped and he had a gash in his left side," Kemerle said, adding one arm also looked broken.
Huff said Art Martin flies the plane once or twice a week in the summer to fish in remote areas. He said Martin has had a cottage on the lake for more than 40 years.
The Transportation Safety Board was still on the scene Thursday investigating the crash and have not yet figured out the cause, said Hildebrand.
He said they have no further information than the initial reports.