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This article was published 7/9/2017 (283 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A plane crash early Thursday morning claimed the life of a 29-year-old Thunder Bay man, RCMP confirmed.
Police said the plane was taken without the owner’s consent. The victim was a licenced pilot and known to the owner.
Federal investigators were called to the scene of a small plane crash north of the St. Andrews Airport by RCMP after they were alerted around 4:10 a.m. The plane had crash-landed on a stretch of pavement just east of Highway 8.
RCMP Cpl. Agathe Bilodeau said the deceased was an "experienced pilot" with a pilot’s licence.
"He has flown the aircraft before. He was known to the owner," Bilodeau said. "It just appears he took the aircraft this morning without the owner’s consent."
The Beechcraft Musketeer, a four-seater, was reported stolen by the owner Thursday morning. Police confirmed the plane owner lives in Manitoba.
Bilodeau would not confirm how the plane’s owner and the deceased knew one another. "That’s still under investigation," she said.
RCMP confirmed the death just before 10 a.m. The pilot was the sole occupant on board, the Transportation Safety Board said.
Under federal regulation, a plane this small does not require a recording device or "black box."
As of Thursday afternoon, crew from the TSB were still sifting through the wreckage, which was strewn about 50 yards along the paved road, just west of the airport.
Eric Vermette, regional manager of the Transportation Safety Board, who was on site with three investigators, confirmed the plane crashed "shortly after takeoff" and was "destroyed by impact forces." There was no post-impact fire, he added.
Vermette said investigators are collecting data, including taking photos on site. The next step involves collecting air-traffic control and meteorological data.
"There’s quite a bit of work left to do after today," Vermette said, noting the board has yet to decide whether a full investigation is required.
"If there’s a lesson to be learned, we will provide a full report," he said. "If there’s something — whether it’s criminal activity or something we already know — there might not be a full report at that time."
Vermette said there were no air-traffic control personnel during the middle of the night and the tower operates on a "mandatory frequency," where pilots broadcast their intentions prior to takeoff.
"There is nobody to talk to at that time of day at St. Andrews," he added.
George Pike, mayor of the rural municipality of St. Andrews, said he was told by authorities the pilot was headed for the Thunder Bay area.
"The plane departed to go to Ontario, there was one occupant, the pilot, and the crash occurred on airport property," Pike said.
St. Andrews fire department and paramedics were among the first on the scene, the mayor said.
As a result of the crash, Highway 8, north of the city, between Parkdale Road and McPhillips Street, was closed Thursday morning. A detour was in effect.
Randy Turner has spent much of his journalistic career on the road. A lot of roads. Dirt roads, snow-packed roads, U.S. interstates and foreign highways. In other words, he’s got a lot of kilometres on the odometer, if you know what we mean.
Alexandra believes every story has a life of its own with a heartbeat and body and legs. She’ll probe for a pulse and check out its shape from every which way, until she feels it and sees it. So be patient with her. She can be exasperating.
Updated on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 8:17 AM CDT: Adds photo
8:19 AM: adds map
8:23 AM: adds photo
8:54 AM: Updates with writethrough
9:10 AM: Fixes typo
10:00 AM: Updates with person dead
10:17 AM: Adds comments from mayor
3:34 PM: Updates
3:42 PM: Update
4:24 PM: Up[dates
10:53 PM: Full write through, fresh art
September 8, 2017 at 6:25 AM: Adds byline