100 Mile House, BC Plane Explosion, July 1965

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

CANADA AIR TOLL 52.

100 Mile House, B.C. (AP) -- Fifty-two persons, some of them children, died when a four-engined Canadian Pacific Airlines plane apparently exploded in flight and crashed in remote rangeland late Thursday.
None of the 46 passengers and 6 crew members aboard survived.
The DC-6B was Flight 21 out of Vancouver, B.C., at 3:30 p.m. bound for Whitehorse, Y.T., with stops scheduled at Fort St. John, Fort Nelson and Watson Lake, B.C. The plane was bought by the airline 12 years ago.
CPA officials said they heard three staccato cries of "May Day" -- the international distress call -- just before the plane vanished from radar screens. The tail stabilizer was found a mile from the main wreckage and officials said they believed an explosion had occurred.
It came down in rolling cattle country near this tiny shipping town 170 miles northeast of Vancouver.
Capt. JOHN ALFRED STEELE, 41, of Vancouver, about 15 minutes before the crash radioed he was changing course slightly to avoid turbulence ahead.
The plane was flying at 15,000 feet.
Then came the "May Day" calls and the plane went silent.
Three forest towers in the area spotted a plume of smoke and ordered a British Columbia Forest Service pilot, Slim Sherk, to fly his light plane over the area.
"I could see black smoke curling up into the sky 30 miles away," he said. "I had no suspicion it was anything but a forest fire."
As he flew closer:
"I could see it was a plane on fire. There was the smoke of magnesium burning. I have seen it burning before in plane crashes."
"The fuselage was smoke and raw flames. The wings were collapsing from the heat but the plane was relatively intact except for the tail section."
"It appeared as though the plane dove straight into the bush. There was no trail of broken trees."
"I counted 20 or 40 bodies until I couldn't find anymore."
Shark radioed the Forest Service and flew over the site until a ground party came in.

Star News Pasadena California 1965-07-09

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BOMB PLOT HINTED IN PLANE CRASH.

Vancouver, B.C. (UPI) -- Authorities Friday, seized all flight insurance and other records connected with a Canadian Pacific DC6B airliner that exploded and crashed Thursday with the loss of 52 lives. Sabotage by bomb was among the possible causes being probed by investigators.
A senior officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the investigators were leaning heavily toward "the bomb theory."
Department of Transport (DOT) officials impounded all flight insurance, cargo manifestos, maintenance records and passenger lists.
"We have not yet found anything to definitely suggest sabotage," said Regional DOT Director Dr. Thomas How. "But there are many things to consider and sabotage is one of them."
A witness to the crash said the tail section of the plane, bound for Whitehorse, Yukon via Prince George, Fort St. John and Watson Lake, exploded in air before the craft hurtled to earth in a long spiral and smashed into a heavily wooded area of caribou ranch country near Dog Creek.
The airliner crashed about 7:55 p.m., EDT, 150 miles north of Vancouver. It carried 46 passengers,
four of them children, and a crew of six.
Two Americans were listed among the dead. They were identified as MR. and MRS. MacLENNAN of Los Angeles, Calif.
Many of the bodies were scattered through the underbrush over a half-mile area. Others were still fastened to their seats in the main fuselage, all burned beyond recognition. Some of the victims sitting near the rear who were thrown out were stripped of their clothing.

San Antonio Light Texas 1965-07-10

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CASUALTY LIST.
Vancouver (CP) -- Official passenger list, as issued by Canadian Pacific Airlines, of Flight 21, four-engined DC-6B which crashed Thursday near 100 Mile House, B.C.
There were no survivors among the 52 passengers.
All passengers except two Canadians have been identified.
Crew:
Captain JOHN ALFRED STEELE, 41, North Vancouver.
First Officer WARNER MURRAY WELLS, 29, North Vancouver.
Second Officer STANLEY E. CLARKE, 26, Richmond, B.C.
Steward ERNEST WENZEL SOURAL, 31, Vancouver, formerly of Montreal.
Stewardess SUE HEINRICH, 22, Vancouver.
Stewardess MARLENE BRAUER, 20, 1250 Burnaby Street, Vancouver.
CPA officials were trying to contact MISS BRAUER'S only known relatives, in Germany.
Passengers:
MR. and MRS. ANGELO PIGATTI and infant daughter, of Casziar, B.C.
CPA officials were trying to contact the PIGATTI'S only known relatives, in Italy.
MR. and MRS. J. EADIE, Vancouver.
MR. ANDISON, Vancouver.
H. A. JANSE, North Vancouver.
MR. TITUS, Chetwynd, B.C.
N. HARRINGTON, Whitehorse, Y.T.
H. REILLY, Whitehorse.
MRS. A. SZONYI and child, Whitehorse.
R. G. WEBER, Prince George, B.C.
K. COONS, Dawson Creek, B.C.
D. HAY, Dawson Creek.
MRS. R. SIMPSON, Watson Lake, Y.T.
C. L. KING, Toronto.
PAUL DAVID VANDERMUELEN, Richmond, B.C.
MRS. W. K. QUAYLE, Victoria.
R. LEBLANC, Burns Lake, B.C.
DR. W. EMO, Brownsberg, Que.
MRS. D. A. HARRIS, Halifax.
MR. and MRS. MacLELLAN, Los Angeles.
MR. and MRS. ROGNERUD and two children, Oslo, Norway.
MISS E. CHAPMAN, Vancouver.
G. WHIMP, Watson Lake, Y.T.
C. BERG (hometown unavailable).
MRS. B. SEELIGER (hometown unavailable).
MR. McMURCHY, Prince George, B.C.
K. MOORE, Vancouver.
B. NESSETH, Vancouver.
DAVID CRAIG, Victoria.
G. GAITENS, North Vancouver.
D. EDGAR, North Surrey, B.C.
N. HARVEY, Vancouver.
P. ZUHROVSKY, Sardis, B.C.
S. KOLESZAR, Vancouver.
MR. and MRS. COVELLO, 866 Borebank Street, Winnipeg.

The Brandon Sun Manitoba 1965-07-09

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Comments

CP Air crash

Jack Steele is my uncle. I just happened to stumble across this site. I was amazed that you have copies of documents - I went to the RCMP in February 2008 to make a request under the access to information act. They responded by saying they had conducted the search in Ottawa and were unable to locate any information relating to my request. They said the info was held by Library and Archives Canada.

After much going back and forth with Library and Archives Canada, I received 4 pages of information with absolutely nothing new - the information could be found by anyone doing a little research. If you could share with me what you have I would be greatful.

memorial

my grandmother, doris harris died in this crash. i have original newspaper articles, some correspondance with a law firm that was looking into a class action law suit and a telegram of condolences that our family received from queen elizabeth. is there a memorial site

CPA CRASH

MY GRANDMOTHER WAS ON THIS FLIGHT, DORIS HARRIS. SHE HAD TRAVELLED FROM HALIFAX AND WAS COMING TO PRINCE GEORGE FOR A VISIT. WE WERE AT THE PRINCE GEORGE AIRPORT WAITING FOR HER PLANE WHEN THE CPA TICKET AGENT TOLD US TO LEAVE, THE FLIGHT HAD BEEN DELAYED AND THEY WOULD LET US KNOW OF A NEW ARRIVAL TIME. WHEN WE WERE LEAVING THE AIRPORT WE RAN INTO A WOMAN WITH, I BELIEVE, THREE CHILDREN THAT HAD BEEN THERE TO MEET HER HUSBAND. WE GAVE THEM A RIDE BACK TO THE HOTEL WHERE THEY WERE STAYING - THE SIMON FRASER HOTEL. MY MOTHER WAS THE CATERING MANAGER THERE. WE WENT HOME, JULY 8TH WAS MY GRANDMOTHERS BIRTHDAY AND WAS MY MOMS BIRTHDAY. WE PUT TEA ON AND MY BROTHER PUT THE T.V. ON. NEWS OF THE PLANE CRASH CAME ON THE NEWSCAST. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE AGONIZED CRIES OF MY FATHER, UNTIL THAT DAY I HAD NEVER SEEN HIM CRY. MY GRANDMOTHER HAD BEEN A NURSE IN THE WAR IN GREAT BRITIAN AND HAD TREATED MANY PATIENTS WHO HAD BEEN SEVERELY BURNED. SHE ALWAYS SAID SHE NEVER WANTED TO BE BURNED. MY DAD NEVER GOT OVER THAT. ABOUT AN HOUR AND A HALF AFTER WE SAW THE NEWS ON T.V. SOMEONE FROM CPA CALLED TO NOTIFY MY DAD. WHAT STAYS IN MY MIND TO THIS DAY AND STILL TURNS MY STOMACH IS THE INSENSITVE AND INHUMANE TREATMENT CPA OFFERRED THE BEREAVED FAMILIES. MY FATHER WAS TOLD TO TRAVEL TO VANCOUVER TO IDENTIFY MY GRANDMOTHER AND CPA WOULD PAY ONLY FOR HIS AIRFARE, NOT HIS WIFES OR HIS CHILDRENS. (LIKE ANY OF US WOULD HAVE GOTTEN ON A PLANE AT THAT POINT) WE DROVE NON STOP TO VANCOUVER FROM PRINCE GEORGE. THERE WAS AN ADDRESS ON WATER STREET IN VANCOUVER (BEST OF MY RECOLLECTION) WHERE MY DAD WAS SENT TO. CAN YOU IMAGINE, IT WAS A TEMPORARY MORGUE. ALL THE NEXT OF KIN WERE GATHERED IN THERE AND THERE WERE SEVERAL CHILDREN THERE. THE KIDS WERE ALL PUT IN A ROOM THAT HAD BENCHES, KIND OF LIKE CHURCH PEWS. IN THAT ROOM WERE DRAWINGS BEING PUT UP WITH DETAILS ABOUT BODIES ON THEM. TO THIS DAY THE MEMORY OF SEEING IN BLACK AND WHITE PHRASES LIKE *ARM PASSENGER 23* MAKE ME WANT TO VOMIT. SOMEONE CALLED THE SALVATION ARMY AND THEY CAME TO THE MORGUE. MY BROTHER AND I SPENT THE NEXT THREE DAYS WITH THE MOST WONDERFUL WOMAN FROM THE SALLY ANN WHO TOOK US UNDER HER WING SO MY PARENTS COULD DEAL WITH THE BUSINESS OF IDENTIFICATION. SHE KEPT US OCCUPIED HELPING OUT AT THE SOUP KITCHEN. WHAT AN ANGEL. SHE KEPT IN TOUCH WITH OUR FAMILY FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. MY GRANDMOTHERS FUNERAL WAS IN HALIFAX AND CPA WAS NOT INTERESTED IN HELPING US GET THERE WE DROVE DAY AND NIGHT TO GET THERE. IT WAS A LARGE FUNERAL IN ST PAULS. MY GRANDMOTHER HAD BEEN ACTIVE AND RANKING IN THE ROYAL PURPLE. WE RECEIVED A TELEGRAM FROM THE QUEEN OFFERRING CONDOLENCES. I HAVE THE NEWS CLIPPINGS, TELEGRAM AND CORRESPONDANCE RELATING TO THE CRASH. I RARELY, RARELY LOOK AT ANY OF IT. TO THIS DAY THE WHOLE MEMORY IS LIKE A RAW OPEN WOUND, AND NO REAL ANSWERS. ONE CHRISTMAS EVE, I THINK 2 YEARS AFTER THE CRASH THE RCMP RETURNED SOME PERSONAL EFFECTS OF MY GRANDMOTHERS TO THE HOUSE--- I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SMELL ON THEM. MY DAD DISPOSED OF THEM RIGHT AWAY. MY FATHER WAS THE CHIEF COURT REPORTER IN NORTHERN B.C. AT THAT TIME. SOME MEMBER OF THE RCMP TOLD HIM THAT THEY ALWAYS SUSPECTED THAT A STEWARDESS HAD SMUGGLED AN EXPLOSIVE DEVICE FOR HER BOYFRIEND WHO WORKED IN THE ENDAKO(SIC) MINES. I DONT KNOW. HMMM THIS IS THE MOST I HAVE SHARED OF THIS EXPERIENCE SINCE IT HAPPENED.

Mr and mrs Covello

Thomas and Dorothy Covello were my aunt and uncle, they were on this flight to my fathers funeral in Vanderhoof. My grandparents lost the last of their children that day.
My condolences to the families left behind, I had just come across this site while doing work on my family tree.

Jack Steele

Jack Steele was my uncle. I will never forget being told about the crash and how it devastated all of us. Uncle Jack was such a free spirit and a wonderful artist. I happened upon this site when I was reading and article about major plane crashes in Canada on a CBC website and noticed that this one was not included. I spent a lot of time at Uncle Jack and Aunt Lola's and was very close with my 4 cousins. My brother will be seeing my cousin Joe in New York this week. This is one of those events in your life that never goes away.

plane crash 1965 dog creek bc

my dad g. gaitens was on th flight. see my comment above in the notes section. i would love to read the info that you have regarding this incident in our lives. please contact me at above e mail address or phone 604 217 1085 . abbotsford bc

anniversary

This is always a such a sad day for me and my family members and for all of you who remember the day your life changed forever...July 8th, l965....my thoughts and prayers go out to each and every one of you.............you'd think that in this day of DNA and advanced forensics that "they" could now discover who was responsible for this tragic event and then we could perhaps figure out the why............................this is the third time I've left a message here and I see that my neice left one too...love you Debbie...take care all...........Linda Woodward McCann

CPA Crash

I'm an ex-RCAF pilot with a book just published about Vancover Island aviation archaeology after visiting some 55 BC aircraft wreck sites. Not aware of any book about this crash, been considering writing one on this disaster. What info is available?

Val

Covello

My aunt and uncle, the Covellos, were also on this flight. They were on the way to my fathers, Ken Smithers, funeral. She was the last of my grandparents surviving children.

My father, Warner Wells, was the first officer on this flight.

Although I was only 5 at the time, I have a clear memory of dropping him off at Jack Steele's home so they could carpool to the airport. My dad was 29. His death left my mother with 3 daughters aged 5, 2 and 9 months. The impact of this terrible day lives with us all.
I requested copies of all relevant documents - newspaper articles, DOT transcripts, RCMP transcripts, and would be happy to share them.