Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Safety Board doubts marmots implicated in fatal Vernon plane crash

RCMP and the coroner look through the burnt wreckage of a twin engine plane crash at Marshall Field in Vernon, B.C., Saturday, July 7, 2012.

Jeff Bassett/Canadian Press

Transportation Safety Board investigators have begun examining the charred remains of a twin-engine plane that crashed in Vernon, B.C., killing the pilot and his passenger.

Safety board spokesman Bill Yearwood says he has spoken with a key witness who watched the plane clip two trees and slam into a sports field on Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Yearwood says the cause of the crash has not been determined.

Story continues below advertisement

He is skeptical of reports that marmots may have chewed vital aircraft controls, saying it's unlikely the little rodents would be interested in wiring, and it's not an issue investigators have encountered before.

Witnesses say the Piper 23 had just taken off from the nearby airport when something went wrong and it clipped the trees and skidded across the grassy field before bursting into a ball of flame.

A family member has identified the 59-year-old pilot as Jim Langley of Kelowna, and his passenger as 53-year-old Port Moody resident Karim Makalai.

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨