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First Nations leaders call for better navigation systems

Jan. 12, 2012, North Spirit Lake, Ont. - First Nations leaders say a deadly plane crash has highlighted the dire need to upgrade aviation standards and weather equipment in remote communities.


January 12, 2012
By The Canadian Press

On Tuesday, four people were killed when a Keystone Air charterflight crashed at the North Spirit Lake reserve in northern Ontario while trying to land in a blizzard.

Only one of the five people on board – an employee of the Winnipeg based native consulting firm Aboriginal Strategies –
survived.

Two other members of the firm, along with a North Spirit Lake office employee and the plane's pilot were killed.

Grand Chief Stan Beardy, who represents dozens of northern Ontario First Nations including North Spirit Lake, says that reserve doesn't even have a beacon to guide pilots in.

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He says the reserve is only accessible by plane and deserves the same navigational equipment available in the rest of Canada.

Northern Manitoba First Nations Grand Chief David Harper complains that most of his communities don't have their own weather equipment so pilots don't know what they're flying into.