Officials are working to determine what caused a plane to go down near Manitou on Aug. 22, killing the pilot and a passenger.

RCMP, fire and emergency services were called to the crash just north of Manitou, about 170 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The 64-year-old pilot and a 48-year-old passenger - both from Winnipeg - died in the crash, said officials.

A witness told CTV News the small plane appeared to be attempting an aerobatic roll before it turned back towards Manitou Airport and then crashed into a lagoon.

Witnesses rushed to the scene and performed CPR on people in the plane after it went down.

“Civilians that arrived there jumped into the lagoon, putting themselves essentially in harm’s way,” said Sgt. Line Karpish of RCMP.

Emergency crews soon arrived and took over with CPR.

“That could be probably the hardest part - you know the chances are slim but you take the time and you do it anyway. You got to try. You can't just stop,” said Kris Reynolds, volunteer fire chief.

Thursday afternoon, Transport Canada’s initial report suggested the plane had entered a rolling maneuver and was only about 100 feet (30 metres) above the ground when it crashed.

The Transportation Safety Board is now working to determine what happened and whether it was human error or a mechanical malfunction.

“Is there some technical problem with the aircraft predating the accident itself that could have affected its worthiness?” asked Peter Hildebrand from the TSB.

"Bearing in mind of course that it is very heavily damaged so some of this is going to be very difficult to determine," he said.

The Acro Sport II had been assembled from a kit. The TSB said records show it had been registered, examined and cleared by Transport Canada, following protocol for the type of amateur aircraft.

The two men killed, Tony Butt and Gilbert Bourrier who was flying at the time, flew out of Lyncrest Airport in Winnipeg and were members of the Springfield Flying Club. A YouTube video identified both men.

Members of the club said they’re saddened to learn of the deaths of the two men.

Luke Penner had trained Butt. He said he never thought he'd lose a student.

"It hit me hard. He was a longtime friend of mine," said Penner.

He said his friend was passionate about flying and was working towards becoming an instructor.

"I considered him to be a very safe pilot, very safety conscious - never a cowboy in the air or reckless," said Penner.

He said Butt was also close to buying his own airplane.

"That was his goal this fall," said Penner.

-with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout and files from The Canadian Press