100 Mile House, BC Plane Explosion, July 1965

Flight 21 Wreckage Site 1.jpg Canadian Pacific Flight 21 Airliner which crashed.jpg

From aviation-safety.net:
Canadian Pacific Flight 21 was a domestic flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Whitehorse (YXY) via Prince George (YXS), Fort St. John (YXJ), Fort Nelson (YYE) and Watson Lake (YQH).
At 14:42, the DC-6 "Empress of City of Buenos Aires" took off on an instrument flight plan for Prince George, via Victor 300 and Blue 22 airways.
En route, at 15:29 the crew reported to Vancouver ATC Centre that they had passed Ashcroft at 16,000 feet. They were estimating William Lake at 15:48.
At 15:38 hours, Vancouver Centre called Flight 21 and did not receive a reply. About two minutes later, three "Mayday" calls were heard by Vancouver Centre. An explosion had occurred in the left aft lavatory. Smoke trailed the aircraft and the tail separated from the fuselage. The main portion of the wreckage assumed a nose down attitude and spiralled to the left until it crashed into a wooded area.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "Explosion of a device which resulted in aerial disintegration."

Also, from en.wikipedia.org:
A coroner's inquest concluded "an explosive substance foreign to the normal contents of the aircraft" caused the crash. A witness on the ground saw the tail of the aircraft separate from the fuselage and debris trail out behind the aircraft. The debris turned out to be the bodies of passengers forced out by the depressurization of the aircraft. The fuselage was consumed by fire where it fell but the tail, found a half kilometre away, was not. Rescue crews reached the crash site while the fire continued to burn but no survivors were found. Crash investigators found traces of acid that led them to believe a bomb in the lavatory was involved. Traces of potassium nitrate and carbon, consistent with a "low-velocity explosion"
were found. Gunpowder or stumping powder causes a low-velocity explosion. The explosion damaged bulkheads in the lavatory, severed pipes in the tail and tore a metre-wide hole in the side of the fuselage. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation focused on four passengers although none was a suspect. Charges were never laid. The source of the explosion remains unknown.



Another theory was a pilot who was recently fired for being drunk was observed being on this plane before it departed. All these theories, and no answers


How odd that I stumbled upon the story of this tragic flight crash which happened when I was just 4 days old, almost 51 years ago. To my surprise there was even a family of 4 fellow Norwegians who lost their lives in this crash in Canada... I looked it up on a Norwegian site, and there it said that they lost their lives in an accident where the tail of the plane was blown off due to a bomb explosion... Rest in peace, all passengers, including the Rognerud family; Helge and Liv and their children Kirsti (2 yrs 11 months) and Elling (17 months) - they were from Nordre Land in Oppland county, not Oslo as listed here...

Captain JOHN Steele. (cousin)

How Captin Steele is related. Jack was my first cousin. My Dad's sister, was Jack's Mother. I remember Uncle Jack flew me home from private school at the tender age of 15. We tried to see each other more often but in those days we didn't have the advantage to travel so much.


The pilot of this plane was my father's oldest friend. They grew up in Kerrisdale together. Jack, for the first year of my life, was my Godfather.

Jack Steele

Jack was my father's best friend. He lost a few of his buddies in WW2 and then to survive that and die this way was tragic. He was my godfather.

Jack Steele

Jack Steele was my fathers best friend and he was my godfather for my first year of my life. This was a sad day for dad. I came across this as I am researching published sources to quote his name as the pilot in Wikipedia. I have no idea why I feel I need to do this. I just do.

Jack Steel was my uncle.

Jack Steel was my uncle. Aunt Lola was my Mom's sister. I remember heading over to Vancouver from Victoria to be with Aunt Lola and my cousins John, Mike, Joe, and Mark. Mark was only 4 and didn't really understand what was going on. I adored Uncle Jack and loved his artwork.

Wow Leslie, I just came

Wow Leslie, I just came across this story and thought this may have been the crash your dad was in. What an incredible tragedy for you and your family! And not knowing what really happened must be so difficult as well. Thinking of you lots <3

CPA #21

I was scheduled to board this flight, family plans changed, and flight was re-scheduled. I feel that I've been living on borrowed time since July8/65, and have lived my life accordingly. I have several theories.

Name correction - Dennis Nesseth

Dennis Nesseth was my uncle, my Mom's brother. He was 37 years old and on his way to Watson Lake to work. July 8, 1965 brought a deep sorrow and loss to the lives of many people.