Ste. Therese De Blainville, QB Airliner Crashes, Nov 1963

Shattered Airliner Quebec CAN plane crash site 11-29-1963.jpg

Right fell heavily.
Police organized their forces before dawn to keep spectators away.
Highway road blocks were set up five miles each way from the crash area. Motorists who could not show identification that would permit them passing the blocks were directed to by-passing routes.
The airliner dived into the field -- already a mass of mire from Friday's heavy rain -- about halfway between Highway 11 and an expressway and 800 feet from a row of houses that line the highway.
One of the first tasks was to get a solid roadway to the crash scene through the deep mud. During the night bulldozers, tractors and trucks loaded with gravel were brought in.

The crater made by the plane was about 30 yards square and at least six feet deep.
Trees near the crater that were not directly hit bore few scars. They leaned outward from the crater, as if bent by the explosion, but eyewitnesses could not agree whether the aircraft exploded in the air or on impact.
One of them described the explosion as "like an atomic bomb." A huge red ball of fire burst into the air.
MRS. AIME BERTHIAUME, whose house is along Highway 11 near the crash scene, said she was in her kitchen "when I heard a terrible explosion and saw a high ball of fire in the air."
"The plane crashed just about right away after that," she said.
But her son ALLAN, 21, said he heard the "swooshing" sound of the jet before "it hit the ground and exploded, sending a huge ball of fire into the air."
President GORDON R. McGREGOR of TCA said it would be difficult to determine the cause of the crash.

Investigators normally can piece together what happened by picking up a limited amount of wreckage, he said, but "I am not cheerful about the possibilities of getting information from these parts because the breakup is so severe."
Another TCA official said there was no question of sabotage in the disaster nor was there any confirmation of an explosion before the ill-fated plane hit the ground.
At least 300 soldiers were stationed around the still smouldering wreckage to ensure that everything was left intact.
This followed removal of some wreckage by the curious who tied up traffic along three-lane Highway 11 for at least five miles in either direction.
A search of houses in the area brought out some pieces of wreckage taken as souvenirs.



I remember when your father

I remember when your father died as I was in the same class as your sister Claudette. She was a good friend of mine and I was devastated that she had lost her father.

David W Pollock

Davie, as he was called, was my older cousin. He lived in Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland with his family and had lived in Canada in the late 1950's, as we did. They decided to return to Canada. Davie came to my parents home just before they were due to return to Canada and told my parents that he didn't want to go. Sadly he went and died in that awful crash with all those other souls..managing to secure a seat due to others missing the flight. We speak of him often. My parents visited the memorial at St Therese in the 70's. Remembering always those who died, those who lost their loved ones and the people who searched for and recovered the victims.

My father was also one of the 8 who missed the flight

Hi Thomas,

My father was one of the 8 who missed Flight 831 because of the weather. I was 2 years old at the time and in all these years my mother only talked to me about it once. My father never spoke of it to me. He passed away some years ago. From my research I discovered an airport limousine was delayed by the weather. Was this a van that carried all of the 8 people? If it was a group of people I'm just wondering if you might have met my father that night on that drive to the airport. He was 36 at the time, and worked for the United Steelworkers. His last name was Ormsby. Lately I've been a bit obsessed about this event and the twist of fate that spared my father. I realize that remembering something like this is not pleasant but if you have any info for me regarding my father I would be most thankful.




My father was one of the 8 who missed the flight

This is the first time I've researched this disaster. My parents never spoke of it but after my father died many years later my mother told me of the bizarre twist of fate regarding this disaster. My father, Burris Ormsby, like some of the other 8 was delayed by the traffic jam in Montreal that afternoon. He worked for the United Steelworkers and was on a business trip in Montreal. My father ended up taking another flight (I think it was a propeller plane---a Vanguard or Vicount----I'm not sure of the non-jet passenger aircraft of 1963. I was only 2 years old and my sister 7. Life would have been completely different if dad had died. We would not have lived in the lovely surroundings and had the family times we shared. Dad never spoke of this disaster. As I said earlier, I was quite a bit older when I learned of it but I never did know the flight number. I want to share something even more uncanny with the readers which might make everyone think even more deeply about fate.

In WW2 my father had a rifle propped under his jaw and pointed up to his head. The trigger was pushed by accident upon hitting a rut in a road. The gun misfired. Dad told me about this when I was boy [it was during his time in Palestine].

In 1960, my dad had a tire blow out on the QEW highway and his car rolled over crushing the cab. He survived with only minor injuries. Dad told me he didn't wear his seat belt that day and he attributed it to his survival (as odd as that may seem).

Regarding flight 831, my mother was told by his office that my father had perished in the crash. My dad's secretary was hysterical because she booked the flight. But later in the evening (I think it was the same night), my father arrived in Toronto and caught a cab. He walked into the house to the complete and utter shock of my mother. Dad had not heard of the disaster. I think of fate often, and this disaster is always in the back of my mind. I believe that all of us can receive premonitions but only a few of us sense them strongly. The young and the old seem most attuned to them. Something to think about.


I was looking up your page as the anniversary of the crash was yesterday (Nov.29). I was horrified when I was reviewing the list of crash victims and found that Carson Ray Elford's name was spelt incorrectly. This is shocking as you seem to have a particular attention to detail elsewhere, but not here. Carson Ray was my Grandfather, and I know it would destroy my grandmother to see that he is not being treated appropriately. If you would be able to correct this error, myself and his descendants would be very pleased.
Many Thanks,
A. Foreman

Lorna flight 831

I knew your aunt and your mother.
The last time I saw you was at your grandmother's place on Harcourt rd.
I don't know how much help I can be.
Please email me or call 250 882 4550

Hiram Cairns

Crash 831

my daughter and I were two of the eight people who missed this flight.
The recent flight disaster. In the Alps brought back memories 50 years ago

My adopted father, Michael,

My adopted father, Michael, was on board this flight. He adopted me in the fall of 1959, so we had a four year relationship. I was devastated to learn that he had died. I miss him immensely. I am working on a personal manuscript that has many pages that speaks to his character. I love you and still miss you dad.

Harry Dyck

I was a neighbour of Harry and Charlotte Dyck when they lived on Edna Ave. in Toronto. My brother, Paul found their son, Harold, requesting a picture of his Dad. Did you send it to him? I know this is now 2014, but I thought I would give it a try. His email is hj.dyck@gmail.com.

Sandy (nee Cate) Chambers