July 31, 2023 By The Canadian Press
KANANASKIS, Alta. — The Transportation Safety Board has started its investigation into the cause of a small plane crash that left six people dead in the Rockies west of Calgary.
Spokesman Liam MacDonald said a team of investigators arrived in the area late Saturday and began its work Sunday morning.
“They are conducting several interviews and collecting information about the aircraft,” he said, adding the investigation would also look into the weather at the time of the crash.
RCMP said Saturday that the plane with a pilot and five passengers aboard took off from Springbank Airport, just west of the city, on Friday night and was headed to Salmon Arm, B.C.
Their names have not been released, but police said that all the people on board were on their way to a church function.
The plane, which was a privately owned, single-engine Piper PA-32, was reported overdue by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., and police said the centre contacted them about the plane at 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Police said a Winnipeg-based Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules plane was dispatched to look for the missing aircraft and located it in Kananaskis Country, a mountainous area west of Calgary, by honing in on an emergency locator transmitter.
Searchers with Alberta Parks mountain rescue responded with Alpine Helicopters and a Comox-based RCAF CH-149 Cormorant from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron.
All six bodies were recovered Saturday from what police said was “difficult terrain.”
A statement from the Calgary Airport Authority, which manages and operates Springbank Airport, didn’t provide any further information about the plane or the crash.
“We are saddened by the tragedy and our hearts go out to those who lost their lives and to the family and friends who lost loved ones,” the authority said Sunday.
“The incident is under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board.”
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