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Pilot escapes unhurt after plane flips on Burntstick Lake

A pilot was flying at low altitudes when landing gear caught snow over surface of lake and flipped.
The pilot of this Piper PA28 was able to walk away uninjured on Sunday, Feb. 11 after flying the aircraft at such low altitudes that the landing gears made contact with the snow at Burntstick Lake near Sundre. Authorities are still investigating. Courtesy of Sundre RCMP

SUNDRE – A pilot and lone occupant escaped uninjured on Sunday after crashing his plane at Burntstick Lake, south of Ricky Mountain House.

Sgt. Trent Sperlie, the Sundre RCMP detachment’s commander, said the incident was reported at about 2 p.m. on Feb. 11.

“There was no injuries and he was able to walk away,” Sperlie said the next morning in response to follow-up questions.

The small aircraft involved was reportedly a Piper PA28. The pilot, a 40-year-old male with the most recent address on file being from Red Deer, was flying through the area, Sperlie told the Albertan, adding he did not know what the pilot’s flight plan was. 

“He was making low passes on the lake and he got too low and the landing gear caught,” said Sperlie.

“The snow grabbed the landing gear and flipped him over,” he said, adding the investigation is ongoing and that federal aviation authorities will also be looking into the situation.

“There hasn’t been any determination of wrongdoing yet,” the sergeant said in response to being asked if the pilot had perhaps been stunting by flying at such dangerously low altitudes.

Sperlie added federal aviation authorities with Transport Canada “would investigate the flying behaviour."

“We would work with them on that investigation and if there is indeed anything wrong, then charges could be laid. I don’t know what those charge would be at this point.”

Although there was no one else in the plane, there were some people out at the lake, he said.

“There were ice fishermen out there,” he said, adding no one on the ground was injured either.

A spokesperson with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said the crash was categorized as a Class 5 occurrence, which “are not subject to comprehensive investigations followed by an investigation report.

“However, data on Class 5 occurrences are recorded in suitable scope for possible future safety analysis, statistical reporting, or archival purposes.”

The TSB’s mandate is “to conduct independent investigations into the air, marine, pipeline and rail sectors to identify safety deficiencies and make recommendations to advance transportation safety,” but the agency “does not assign fault, blame or criminal liability.”

The Albertan has also reached out to Transport Canada and was awaiting a response by press time.

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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