Canada briefs – May 31

Bodies of three young parents and a pilot shuttling them home on a six-minute flight to a tight-knit First Nations community were being recovered Sunday from crash wreckage of a submerged float plane off Vancouver Island.

RCMP divers recover bodies of victims from B.C. float plane crash wreckage

AHOUSAT, B.C. — Bodies of three young parents and a pilot shuttling them home on a six-minute flight to a tight-knit First Nations community were being recovered Sunday from crash wreckage of a submerged float plane off Vancouver Island.

RCMP divers worked to remove siblings Katrina English, 22, and Edward Sam, 28, and cousin Samantha Mattersdorfer, 24, while the tiny population of Ahousat grieved together at a nearby hall.

“They were very well-known, all of them,” said a woman calling herself an aunt of the trio, who asked she not be named. “Very well-liked amongst the community.”

English and Sam, known as “Hunter”, were basketball players, while Mattersdorfer worked at a fish plant, she said.

All had young children.

“It’s really impacted (us),” she said, adding mourners will move from home to home while others in the community of about 1,800 will cook meals for the families for five days.

“Everybody relies on everybody, we wouldn’t be able to do it if we didn’t come together the way Ahousaht does it.”

Also killed was Damon York, 33, of Tofino, who piloted the Cessna 185 that mysteriously dropped just after noon Saturday, about three-quarters of the way towards its destination, sinking about 15 metres.


Quebec wildfire evacuees faced fifth night away from home

LA TUQUE, Que. — Some 1,300 evacuees from the Wemotaci reserve near La Tuque, Que., faced their fifth night away from home after fleeing a massive wildfire that’s threatening their community.

The 39 hectare fire — burning about 300 kilometres north of Trois-Rivieres — is the largest of eight still burning out of control and one of over 50 burning across central Quebec.

The bulk of the evacuees were moved Sunday to an arena in the town in order to free up the school for students returning to their studies Monday.

Fire crews were also evacuated from the area late Sunday due to the strong winds in the area. Smoke from the fires is expected to drift all the way down to Montreal, but with no risk to residents.

Marcel Trudel, a spokesman for the province’s forest-firefighting organization, said fire crews have so far been successful in keeping the flames away from the towns.

There are 1,200 firefighters battling the blazes, including some from the U.S. and other provinces.

But Trudel said the dry, windy conditions have been working against fire crews and so far some 83,000 hectares of forest have so far been destroyed by the flames.


Auditor general prepared

to probe security costs

OTTAWA — Auditor General Sheila Fraser is ready to look at the huge security costs for the G8 and G20 summit meetings next month.

”Once the events have occurred and the spending has occurred we can look to see if it was done appropriately,” she told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday.

The billion-dollar tab for security prompted angry clashes in the House of Commons last week, with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews staunchly defending the costs.

”It certainly seems like a lot of money,” Fraser said. ”I think we have to understand better what is it for.”

She said the audit would be routine.

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