I feel so powerless.

After yesterday’s plane crash, there’s so much pain and tumult and uncertainty. I can do nothing.

Four people died today when a small plane flying from Winnipeg crashed at an isolated First Nation in northern Ontario. Officials with the Transportation Safety Board say the twin-engine Piper PA 31 crashed into North Spirit Lake at about 10 a.m. while attempting to land at the airstrip at North Spirit Lake First Nation. Five people were on board the plane, including the pilot. The TSB confirmed there is one male survivor of the crash.

Hildebrand said there is no control tower at the 1,066-metre-long airstrip, adding landings are left up to the pilot’s discretion. Hildebrand said the plane, built in 1977, was not required to have a voice or flight recorder.

Local resident Martha Campbell died in the crash, along with Ben Van Hoek and Colette Eisinger, two members of Aboriginal Strategies Inc., a Winnipeg-based native consulting firm, Rae said.

People on the small, closely-knit reserve are devastated, Rae said. The reserve is located about 300 kilometres north of Kenora and is accessible only by air or by winter road. Eric Feldman, principal of the Victoria Linklater School on the reserve, said the community is coping with the tragedy with almost no resources on the ground. “There is no emergency equipment whatsoever here,” he said. “There’s no firefighting equipment, not even an ambulance. They were putting the fire out with snow. The one survivor they took to the nursing station.”

Officials from the Transportation Safety Board are headed to the community to investigate.


North Spirit only has a doctor on site one day a month, and it was yesterday; I’m so glad for that. I’m so glad that Brian will go home to his wife and kids. But our hearts ache for the other families.

I’m concerned about ASI, and about how my husband can cope with suddenly running a grieving and frightened company whose president and another employee just died in a plane crash.  The ramifications are extensive.