Armstrong, ON Airliner Crash On Landing, Feb 1941



Twelve persons, nine of them passengers and three crew members, were killed early Thursday morning when a Winnipeg-bound T.C.A. airliner crashed in the dense bush country one mile south of Armstrong, Ont. Six of the dead were Winnipeg residents.
The crash came shortly after 3:47 a.m., as the plane attempted an emergency landing at the Armstrong airport. It was one of the worst aviation tragedies in Canadian history, and the first involving Trans-Canada Airlines. The dead are:
Captain W. E. TWISS, Winnipeg, formerly of Vancouver.
First Officer C. E. LLOYD, Winnipeg, formerly of Ottawa.
MISS M. G. MAYNE, stewardess, Winnipeg.
MRS. R. D. CARTER, Vancouver.
E. MALONE, Toronto.
F. W. F. GASSTON, Hudson's Bay Company, Winnipeg.
H. MOSS, Toronto.
Prof. ROBERT McQUEEN, Winnipeg.
Lt. Cmdr. H. H. HARLOWE, Ottawa.
E. C. MANNING, Victoria.
F. J. FREER, Great-West Life Assurance Company, Winnipeg.
I. E. DAVIDSON, Vancouver.
Ground crews at Armstrong, who waited in vain for the big plane to come into the field after its radio message saying it was landing, raised the alarm shortly after 4 a.m., and Air Line officials in Winnipeg were notified immediately.
Carrying D. A. Colyer, T.C.A. vice-president; R. F. GEORGE, superintendent of flight operation; H. H. KENYON, assistant to the general superintendent, and E. W. STULL, assistant superintendent of maintenance, the rescue plane left Stevenson field at 4:45 a.m. They arrived at Armstrong at 7:25 a.m.
Two hours later, after flying in widening circles about the air field, the wreckage was spotted. The plane had apparently overshot its mark and landed one mile south of the north-south runway of the field.
Headed by a doctor and Red Cross nurses, a rescue party cut its way slowly through the deep snow to the site to find all aboard the plane dead.
An immediate investigation has been ordered and an inquest will open at Armstrong this evening. Earlier in the day, department of transport officials had ruled out the possibility of engine trouble.
The plane left North Bay at 10:15 p.m. and arrived at Armstrong on schedule. It had sufficient gas for three more hours' flying at this point.
The only warning received by the Armstrong airport officials was Capt. TWISS' brief message he was coming in to land. After that there was silence and airmen in the city speculated the plane's radio may have gone dead after its last contact.
While the wild terrain of northern and northwestern Ontario is better suited for ski and float equipped planes, T.C.A. has minimized this hazard by establishing a string of emergency bases.
Eastward from Winnipeg, these landing fields are located at Vivian and Whitemouth in Manitoba, and at Kenora, Vermillion, Sunstrum, Sioux Lookout, Allenwater, Armstrong, Nakina, Grant, Ogahalla, Pagwa, Nagogami and Kapuskasing in Ontario. The bases are just a few of a series strung along T.C.A.'s trans-continental route.
The national air lines operations sheet shows a clean record since inaugration of a trans-continental
passenger service, April 1, 1939. Guided by experienced fliers and numerous radio operators across the country, the big silver passenger planes have a perfect score of no crack-ups since then.
In November, 1938, when the company was making
test flights preparatory to opening up a regular service schedule for passengers and mail, Captain DAVID IMRIE and Pilot Officer JACK HERALD were killed when a T.C.A. plane crashed just outside of Regina.
On April 1, 1940, T.C.A. marked its first year of operating Montreal-Toronto-Vancouver scheduled flights. Its safety record up to that time paralleled that of United States Airlines which a few days before had concluded a year of operations without fatalities.
Opening the second year of the trans-continental route, T.C.A. doubled its service with two planes a day flying each way. Previously, only one plane a day each way made the flights.
Since T.C.A. commenced trans-continental operations, April 1, 1939, its planes have flown a total of 8,165,000 miles without a fatality to the passengers. It has flown a total of 43,825,879 revenue passenger miles without an accident. This, it is believed, constitutes a world record for accident free operations for air lines.
Flying conditions at Armstrong were considered generally good when the crash took place with a ceiling of 1,200 feet and a visibility of one mile and a half. Light snow was falling.
First word of the disaster reached the city as Winnipeggers went to work. Then there was a long silence, broken with rumors of the plane reported first at Savant Lake, 70 miles east of Armstrong, followed by another that five persons had died.
It was not untill noon that air line officials finally confirmed that rescue parties had found all aboard the 14-passenger Lockheed dead.
Before the official announcement was made, air line officials notified all relatives of the dead persons.

Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba, 1941-02-06