Three men die in plane crash in northwestern Ontario

The Cat Lake First Nation has identified two of the three men who were killed in a plane crash in a remote section of northwestern Ontario.

CAT LAKE, Ont. — The Cat Lake First Nation has identified two of the three men who were killed in a plane crash in a remote section of northwestern Ontario.

Russell Wesley, who co-ordinated the band’s search for the plane, says Ronald Ombash and Dean Meekis both died in the crash, about 20 kilometres southwest of Cat Lake, after witnesses say the pilot aborted a landing at the Cat Lake airport Friday night.

He says Meekis, formerly of Deer Lake, and Ombash ran Cat Lake’s youth programs and were well respected.

Wesley, who says he was related to both men, says their deaths are a great loss for the community and grief counselling has been made available to those who want it.

About 150 members from Cat Lake and Deer Lake conducted ground and water searches for the Cessna 310’s wreckage, which was spotted by the crew of a Hercules airplane from CFB Trenton, Ont., Sunday night and a two-man crew parachuted into the densely wooded crash site.

Howard Lockhart, who used to own but now works at Lockhart Air Services in Sioux Lookout, Ont., says the male pilot had been flying for 25 years and it “makes no sense it all it happened.”

The pilot was flying the two passengers from Sioux Lookout to Cat Lake, about 160 kilometres away, and then was supposed to return to Sioux Lookout Friday evening.