Plane that crashed with fugitives was overweight, heading for Toronto: Witness
“They were a little overworked and they were trying to reduce their weight,” the woman told The Canadian Press.
The woman did not see the three passengers and she said she and Handa also talked about the weather.
Police say Handa, Hankun Hong, Gene Lahrkamp and Duncan Bailey died in the crash near Sioux Lookout, Ont.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which is British Columbia’s anti-gang unit, has identified Lahrkamp as one of two men wanted in Thailand for the murder of another man with ties to British Columbia gangs. British.
A man of the same name and age as Bailey was wanted by police for breaching bail conditions linked to a separate murder plot in British Columbia
The Piper Cherokee that crashed was traveling between Dryden, Ont., and Marathon, Ont., but the plane was registered in British Columbia. The woman, who had some aviation background, said such a small plane would have made several fuel stops en route to Toronto.
She could not confirm exactly what day she saw Handa. Another man at the airport said he did not want to be interviewed, but he also said he saw Handa on the same day as the woman, although he could not confirm the date either.
Nav Canada, which operates flight information centers across the country, referred questions about the flight itinerary to the Transportation Safety Board.
The council referred questions to Boundary Bay Airport, which said it could not release the information.
The safety office, which is investigating the crash, said a cause has yet to be determined. He said Thursday he would share an update “soon.”
Online flight tracking site FlightAware shows a gap in flight records for the plane between British Columbia and Alberta.
The website shows the plane arrived at Boundary Bay airport at 7.44pm on April 23. The next entry shows that the plane flew between Claresholm, Alberta and Shaunavon, Saskatchewan on April 28 before continuing east. The latest entry follows its path from Dryden, Ontario to the crash site near Sioux Lookout, Ontario on April 29.
Hong and Handa do not appear on criminal records, but the federal aviation regulator said Handa was not certified to operate charter flights.
Transport Canada says neither Handa nor a company he was related to, called A&T Flights, held a valid air operator certificate.
The certificate is one of several requirements for commercial pilots offering charters, tours and other services to paying customers, the agency said.
A public aircraft registry also lists the plane that crashed as being registered for private rather than commercial use.
“Abhinav” is listed as a contact for A&T Flights Inc., on the company’s Instagram page.
Hong is tagged in a video on the A&T Flights page, advertising his services.
“Pilots are having fun renting planes and flying over beautiful British Columbia,” the April 8 post read.
Handa and Hong’s accounts follow the A&T Flights Instagram page.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 11, 2022.
Amy Smart, The Canadian Press