Plane lost speed before crash, pilot says
The pilot of a small plane that crashed into a row of trees near Penticton, B.C., on Friday says he was forced to make an emergency landing after losing speed and power.
Randy Warnaar, a 35-year-old Kelowna resident and former commercial pilot, was in the cockpit of the Cessna 172 plane when it crashed down just metres away from the Apex Mountain Ski Resort.
Both Warnaar and his passenger, a 28-year-old man from Thornhill, Ont., walked away from the crash without any serious injuries.
The pilot said that he was heading home to Kelowna after a day of sightseeing when he entered a valley near the resort.
"I lost airspeed and power in the aircraft, and the valley was too narrow to turn around in," Warnaar said.
"I wasn't able to climb, and eventually ran out of room. The airplane got really slow, so I tried to turn around, and I just didn't have enough room, so I had to put it down."
He said the plane was about 15 metres off the ground and moving very slowly when he made the emergency landing.
"The trees caught the wings, which slowed down the impact more," Warnaar said. "We were lucky to walk away from that one."
He said the plane was a rental from Southern Interior Flight Centre in Kelowna. The company did not return calls on Saturday.
Transport Canada is investigating the crash, with the assistance of the Penticton RCMP.