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Wed, Aug 15, 2007

Cirrus SR22 Down in Canada, Three Lost

Brother Believes Pilot Error Likely Caused Accident

A Cirrus SR22 went down about 125 miles northwest of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Sunday night... killing the pilot and two passengers.

Pilot Jean Dargis, 46, and his wife Joanne, 45, and mother Anita, perished when the single engine aircraft impacted a wooded, hilly area just east of House Mountain Tower, according to the CanWest News Service.

According to Laurier Dargis, the couple's cousin, Jean Dargis had been flying for about six years. He purchased the SR22 (type shown below) about a month ago.

An emergency locator beacon was activated Sunday evening before any reports of missing aircraft. According to Maj. Gerry Favre, air coordinator at the Rescue Coordinator Center, a ground search and rescue team and a C-130 Hercules from Winnipeg were subsequently deployed.

About midnight, officers from the Swan Hills Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a fish and wildlife officer and local emergency medical services joined the search effort, according to the RCMP.

The crash site was discovered in a heavily wooded area in the early Monday morning hours. A bulldozer was required to gain access to the wreckage.

"The weather when we got in the area was poor," Favre said.

The pilot's brother, Richard Dargis, who is also a pilot and familiar with the route his brother took, said the Swan Hills can be tricky to fly over, especially if there is a low ceiling. He said he also believes pilot error is a likely cause of the accident.

"The Swan Hills are very high -- the highest point in Alberta outside the Rocky Mountains. They do come in your face -- they come up pretty fast," he said.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is investigating.



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