Sackville resident Walter Read made a surprising discovery Sunday as he drove on a logging road with his daughters near his father’s house in Rockport.
“When I turned the corner after I got in there a little ways, I said to the girls, ‘That looks like an airplane over there, and sure enough it was an airplane,'” Read said in a telephone interview.
“I called my father because I hadn’t heard anything about an airplane crash in Rockport, which would be big news for down there, and I called him and said, ‘Heard anything about an airplane crash in here?’ and he said no, he never heard anything.”
Read told his daughters to stay in the truck and walked over to the downed plane to make sure no one was still inside.
He noticed that the plane had struck a tree on its way down, damaging one wing and driving the other one into the ground.
Read e-mailed a couple of photos of the plane to his partner Alana Best in Sackville.
Best says she wasn’t sure who to call and finally asked her mother what to do.
“She said, ‘Well, I’d call 9-1-1’ because we didn’t know when it happened and there could be somebody in the woods hurt from the night before,” Best said.
She says her 9-1-1 call led the RCMP to dispatch a couple of cruisers along with an ambulance, but before they could arrive on the scene, they received word from the search and rescue centre in Halifax that the crash had been reported in February and that no one had been hurt.
RCMP communications officer Hans Ouellette confirmed today that there were no injuries when the plane went down on February 13.
A report from the Transportation Safety Board says the Piper Cherokee had taken off from the Moncton airport and as it was cruising, “the engine experienced a fuel starvation for undetermined reasons.”
The report adds that the pilot “conducted a forced approach” into a field about 41 nautical miles southeast of the airport.
“The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the pilot reported no injuries.”
To read the full TSB summary, click here.
The Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows that the Piper aircraft was first registered to Sackville resident Wendel Goodrich in 1992 and again in 1999.
Reached by phone today, the retired Mount Allison history professor, who goes by the name Eugene, would say only: “I don’t want to talk to you. Bye,” before he hung up.
In 2006, the Moncton Times & Transcript published a story about Goodrich with the headline: “Pilot walks away from crash; After engine stalls, retired Mount A professor glides single-engine plane into trees to break aircraft’s fall.”
The report, by Craig Babstock, says Goodrich was taking a test flight in a friend’s plane when fuel stopped getting to the engine forcing him to crash land on top of some trees south of Hillsborough.
It says his fascination with flying began in 1983 when he bought an IBM computer that came with a flight simulator program.
Four years later, he paid $25 for an introductory flying lesson and in his own words: “I was hooked like crack cocaine.”
Excitement in Rockport
Meantime, Walter Read says the discovery of the plane yesterday caused excitement in Rockport.
“We know everybody in Rockport and nobody knew about the plane crash,” he says.
He adds that he asked a friend who spends all his time in the woods if he had heard anything about an airplane crash.
“He called me and said, ‘Where do you hear this stuff?’ I said, ‘I didn’t hear it, I actually saw the airplane.’
“He was totally shocked; it just doesn’t happen there.”
Are they gonna come get it? Or just abandoning it?