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3 children among 7 killed in small plane crash near Kingston

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Nov 29th, 2019

Seven people, including three children ranging in age from 6 to 16, are dead following a small plane crash north of the Kingston airport Wednesday night.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is examining weather as a possible factor in a crash and indicated seating configurations on board the aircraft would figure into its ongoing investigation of the tragedy.

Ken Webster, the TSB investigator heading up the probe, said the aircraft was registered in the United States and had taken off from the Toronto area shortly before the crash, which occurred as the plane was approximately seven kilometres from its destination.

“There were seven people on board this aircraft,” Webster said at a news conference. “This type of aircraft has a provision for seven seats in some configurations, however we found six seats at the accident site…. We do look closely at this kind of information.”

Webster offered few details about the people on board the aircraft but Khudoyor Ortikov tells CityNews that his best friend of 20 years, Otabek Oblokulov, along with his wife and three kids, aged 16, 10 and 6, were on the plane along with his brother-in-law and his wife. The family of five were visiting Canada from Texas for the American Thanksgiving. Oblokulov was likely piloting the Piper PA-32.

Webster said the Board had also heard reports of deteriorating weather conditions in the area at around 5 p.m. when the plane crashed into a wooded area. He said those conditions would also be a part of the investigation.

A team of four TSB investigators would comb the wreckage of the Piper PA-32, which appears to have hit the ground at a “very steep” angle, he said.

Webster said early indications are that the plane was making plans to land in Kingston but was ultimately bound for Quebec City.

Const. Ash Gutheinz of the Kingston police said the area was under a wind advisory at the time, and while the conditions may not have been as bad as predicted, it was certainly “blustery.”

A spokesman for Canadian Forces Base Trenton, meanwhile, said a military helicopter dealt with high winds while it searched for the crash site.

Maj. Trevor Reid said the helicopter crew found the wreckage thanks to an emergency beacon on board the plane.

Residents in the area also noted there was heavy rain and strong winds around the time of the crash.

“I was amazed that anybody was even flying last night because there was lots of notice that this windstorm was coming,” said Rob Gibson, who lives near the site of the crash.

Gibson said in an interview he could hear a helicopter searching for the downed aircraft Wednesday night, but didn’t hear any sounds from the crash itself.

The TSB says while this aircraft does not require installation of a flight data recorder, there may be other devices on board that will be able to provide information leading up to the crash.

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