Witnesses saw planes crash north of Bashaw

Landowners north of Bashaw watched two homebuilt airplanes crash after colliding in midair on Sunday, Bashaw RCMP said Monday. Sgt. Cameron Paul, commanding officer for Bashaw, said the witnesses, who just happened to be outside at the time, saw the craft flying close together before they collided around 11:30 a.m.

Landowners north of Bashaw watched two homebuilt airplanes crash after colliding in midair on Sunday, Bashaw RCMP said Monday.

Sgt. Cameron Paul, commanding officer for Bashaw, said the witnesses, who just happened to be outside at the time, saw the craft flying close together before they collided around 11:30 a.m.

The pilots — one man is from the Carstairs area and the other is from Calgary — were both travelling from Carstairs to Red Deer Lake. They were about six km south of their destination when the collision occurred.

After the planes collided, the plane that was most damaged — a Christavia MK-1 — went down in somewhat of a controlled descent but landed roughly, Paul said.

The plane ended up in a farmer’s field off Township Road 424 and Range Road 221. The pilot, the man from Calgary, suffered a severe leg injury.

The other pilot, whose plane had less damage, called the collision in, and then was able to land safely nearby and help the injured pilot.

He suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The injured pilot, 47, was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton by STARS.

The homebuilt planes have single engines, full fuselages and wings.

Paul said building planes from kits is not uncommon. It’s a lot cheaper to purchase a kit and build a plane than purchasing a light aircraft, he said.

He’s has seen what is put into a homebuilt airplane. “Sometimes you can’t even tell the difference.”

In June 2011, Bashaw RCMP detachment also attended a plane crash in the area. That crash claimed the lives of two people who were flying from B.C. to Central Alberta.

Paul wasn’t at the Bashaw detachment when that crash happened but he has seen crashes in other detachments. It happens more frequently than people realize, he said.

And “probably not many,” survive incidents like the one on Sunday, he said.

All of Bashaw RCMP’s investigative material will be going to Transport Canada.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com