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The modern aircraft is the life line of the isolated northern communities. Every plane that leaves for these bush camps is peopled with happy men and women,looking forward to rapidly accruing wealth and perhaps a little adventure. the flights back to the city are looked forward to with much more eagerness as these same people dream of enjoying the fruits of their labour in the gayety of the towns or the comfort of their homes.

Thus this air highway is a continuous source of pleasure to the northern pupulation who often depend on the planes for their supplies and provisions . The record of dependability that air transport has achieved is remarkable, but as with all things, the element of chance and accidents forever lingers in the more obvious places.

Through the dark rainy night an Elorado operated DC-3 passenger cargo airliner came within hearing distance of the single Beaverlodge airstrip. Landing conditions were very hazardous, and so as a last minute measure a man was sent out to set a flare path on the runway approach. Several flares in a space of approximately twenty ft.were seen winking pathetically at each other trying vainly to define the area limits of the runway.

Jack Love, the first pilot of the DC-3 did circuits of the prospective landing area for about twenty mintues before coming in on his final approach. A very conmpetent and cautious pilot of considerable repute in flying circles; he had made his decision to set down.

As the wheels touched the sandy runway, it had all the appearance of a smooth, normal landing, slightly overshot if anything.

The aircraft was lined up approximately twenty degrees toward the right hand side of the runway. In split seconds the pilots had cut the switches and prepared for a crash. the huge place barked once and the engines were silent as it climbed a steep bank and headed for the bush line and a deep gully beyond. At this point, the right hand undercarriage collapsed and the plane using the right wing-tip as an axis of turn, the plane spun within feet of the chasm.

One engine tore free of its mountings as the ship came to a grinding stop. Witnesses rushed to the plane as the passengers quickly descended from the open door. The bilious smell of gasoline fumes warned them of an immediate danger of fire and possible explosion.

One quick-witted member of the crash crew immediately warned spectators and prospective rescuers that the cargo consisted of dynamite cases. This had a visible effect on the mob of men, who had charged in force to the airstrip at the sounding of the E.M.R. siren. These men who were more than eager to help in the emergency were quickly dispersed as a cordon of men guarded the area around the wreck.

Considerable damage was done to the plane. But mostly due to the competence and calmness of the crew, no one was seriously injured.

Fourteen passengers, including two children, have very likely had sufficient flying to keep them grounded for some time. Or as one Indian woman on the flight asked, "Does the big plane land like that all the time?"

Ed. Note: Our thanks to Rudy Jalonen for sending in this newspaper clipping


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