An investigation into a plane crash that killed two wanted men from B.C. – including one from Trail who was a suspect in the killing of a former Abbotsford gangster – concluded that poor visibility, overload and an inexperienced pilot were the causes of the deadly incident.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its investigation report this week into the crash that occurred on April 29, 2022 near Sioux Lookout, Ont.
The report concluded that the privately registered plane left the Dryden Regional Airport in Ontario on April 29 at 9 p.m. for the Marathon Aerodome.
The plane was carrying one pilot and three passengers; all were killed in the crash.
Two of the passengers on board had warrants for their arrest in connection to separate murder plots.
A warrant was issued for Duncan Howard Bailey, from Kamloops, by B.C. authorities on April 26, three days before the crash.
Gene Lahrkamp of Trail, who was No. 2 on the list of Canada’s 25 most wanted fugitives for an alleged murder of former Abbotsford gangster Jimi Sandhu in Thailand, was also on board the plane.
B.C.’s anti-gang unit have said that they are investigating why Bailey and Lahrkamp were on the same flight.
Pilot Abhinav Handa had previously been reported by an Ontario flight instructor for advertising flight tours on a plane that wasn’t registered for commercial use.
The Transportation Safety Board investigation found that Handa held a commercial pilot licence but did not have an instrument rating; therefore, he was not qualified for flight in the adverse weather conditions at the time of the crash.
The pilot was also not qualified to fly at night.
On the night of the incident, the flight service specialist reported that marginal flight rules, or weather causing poor visibility, could be present along the flight path.
Handa was not qualified to fly in conditions with poor visual references.
Additionally, the investigation found that the aircraft was 170 pounds over the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight.
The aircraft’s technical records did not reveal any defects that may have contributed to the crash.
The investigation found that the plane hit trees in a forest after likely cartwheeling in the air.