NEWS OF 2011: Pilot avoids catastrophe in Saskatoon plane crash

December 21, 2011 - 10:31am Updated: December 27, 2011 - 3:10pm
The scene of a plane crash in Saskatoon on Apr. 1, 2011. Photo submitted by Jason Phillips.
The scene of a plane crash in Saskatoon on Apr. 1, 2011. Photo submitted by Jason Phillips.

You could call it a miracle near 51st Street after a twin-engine geosurveying  plane narrowly missed a grocery store, homes and cars and crashed on wall in north Saskatoon this spring.

On April 1, the plane crashed just past the intersection of 51st Street and Wanuskewin Drive in Saskatoon's north end.

Eyewitnesses like Ian called in from the crash site the night went down.

“It landed on top of the sound barrier. One wing is on one side of the sound barrier. The other wing is flipped over on the other side,” he said.

It happened at one of the busiest intersections in the city. Many say the pilot's decision to hit the sound wall prevented a catastrophe on the roads.

“You got to give the pilot a lot of credit for landing where he did and not hit(ting) any traffic. (It) is amazing,” said Mark, another eyewitness, at the time.

The night of the crash, eyewitness Erin also reported seeing two men emerge from the wreckage of the Fugro Airborne Surveys plane.

Pilot Brock Gorrell, 57, and his 42-year-old co-pilot Cameron Sutcliffe survived the crash. They were injured, but their injuries were said to not be serious.

However, a passenger in the plane — 47-year-old Iaroslav Gorokhovski from Embrum, Ont. — was killed.

What we know is the plane's right engine failed mid-flight. The left lost power shortly after.

But the Transportation Safety Board's Peter Hildebrand says investigators continue to examine the electrical, fuel and wind components.

“It’s been a bit more complex and has taken longer, so it’ll take a couple more months until we wrap this up,” said Hildebrand.

Meanwhile, at least one of those who helped the pilots after the crash were recognized for his efforts. Corporal Matthew Hrycuik was awarded the GoldLife Saving Award in mid-November. He was nominated for the most prestigious honour given by St. John Ambulance.

This is one of five stories chosen by our audience as a top Saskatchewan news story of 2011. Each day from Dec. 26-30, we will publish a new story.


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Edited by News Talk Radio's Karen Brownlee.


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