Community grieving deaths of pilot, 3 children in southwestern Manitoba plane crash
Published Monday, February 11, 2013 6:34AM CST
Last Updated Monday, February 11, 2013 7:29PM CST
A community in southwestern Manitoba is in mourning after a plane crash near Waskada killed a pilot and three children on Sunday.
Gary Williams, the town’s mayor, told CTV News the four killed in the crash are local pilot Darren Spence, his two sons and one of the sons’ friends. He said all three children were under the age of 12.
“This is devastating news,” said Williams.
“We’re going to have to pull together as a community,” he said.
Waskada, a community of about 200 people, is located in the rural municipality of Brenda, about 330 kilometers southwest of Winnipeg.
Spence's young daughter was not on the plane.
Officials said they located the crash site around 7 p.m. on Feb. 10.
Williams said the plane crashed 10 kilometers north of the community, just a few kilometers from a runway.
Thirty-seven-year-old Darren, a single father, was an experienced crop dusting pilot, said friends.
His sons Gage and Logan loved flying and played hockey on the community's local team.
Their school friend Dawson Pentecost also died in the crash. In an email, his brother said he saw them all take off in the plane around 1 p.m. on Feb. 10. It was Dawson’s first time in a plane. His brother Talis said he wants Dawson to know people care.
James Turnbull attended school with the three boys.
“It’s emotions running crazy right now,” he said.
Kelly Cathcart, a mother of three, said she’s grief stricken.
“Stuff like that, you know it never really goes away,” she said.
Grief counsellors have been brought in to the Waskada School, where all three boys were students.
"They were just lively little guys...the fact they're gone is something we're going to have to get through," said Williams.
Flags in the community of Waskada were flying at half-mast on Monday.
RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.
"We're going to have a look at what the facts are that we can gather. We're going to interview people…that know something about this flight. We're going to have to look at the airplane itself. Was the aircraft serviceable? Was it working? Was there any malfunction that might have contributed to this?" asked Peter Hildebrand from the TSB.