Identities of two killed in killed crash made public - Aug. 17, 2014
Media outlets this morning reported what many on Grand Manan knew early yesterday morning: the pilot killed in Saturday morning's crash of air ambulance plane on the island was the owner, Klaus Sonnenberg.
Also killed was paramedic William “Billy” Mallock. Two survived the crash, a pilot and a nurse. Courier staff is aware of the identities of both survivors, but this media outlet is not at this time releasing that information.
The crash involved an aircraft Atlantic Charters, the company Sonnenberg started and held an ownership stake in, had recently purchased and refurbished specifically to serve medical evacuations.
Officials with the federal Department of Transport were due to arrive on scene today.
RCMP officers cordoned off a section of the road, located on the northern side of the Grand Manan airfield, early Saturday morning.
Later in the afternoon, an RCMP photographer circled over the site in a helicopter. The machine flew over the crash site, but also spent notable time apparently observing sections of an open field across an intervening road several hundred metres distant from the end of the runway.
Cause of the crash is not yet known. Speculation abounds the crash of the aircraft – returning after an early morning medical evacuation – was in some way caused by fog. However, residents of the island told the Courier that some sections of the island were free of fog early Saturday morning.
Further, several islanders noted Sonnenberg, a veteran pilot, had flown air ambulance flights out of Grand Manan's airfield in unpleasant or low-visibility weather on many occasions.
In the past, air ambulance service to Grand Manan has been a matter of some debate. Two years ago, islanders were upset at a move by Ambulance New Brunswick to service the island using aircraft dispatched from Moncton. Ultimately, Atlantic Charters was resigned to a contract to transfer medical patients from the island.
For more, see Tuesday's Courier.