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Pilot in fatal Kingston plane crash identified
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, November 28, 2019 10:44AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 28, 2019 10:52PM EST
Family and friends have identified the deceased pilot of a plane that took off from Buttonville Wednesday night and crashed in woods north of Kingston, killing all seven on board, including three children.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says a Piper PA-32 registered somewhere in the United States took off from Buttonville on Wednesday evening and went down in the Cataraqui-Westbrook area of Kingston around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
An air force helicopter from CFB Trenton arrived at the scene at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, and police got to the crash site approximately 50 minutes after that, a spokesperson from the Department of National Defence told CTV News Toronto.
The TSB told CP24 Thursday that they located seven bodies in the wreckage; four adults and three children.
Mehmet Basti, who was friends with the pilot, said he found the news of the crash on Google on Thursday morning.
"We were waiting for the call when they landed," he said. "We couldn't reach them."
Among those on board were the pilot's wife and their three children, as well as a couple from Toronto, who just got married in the summer, said Basti.
CTV News has identified the pilot as Otabek Oblokulov of Missouri City, Texas.
He said the group was planning to spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Quebec City.
Oblokulov, who has been living in the United States for 20 years, initially planned to fly on Thursday.
“He checked all the records, everything and decided to go yesterday because the weather was getting colder,” said Basti.
A special weather statement had been issued for Kingston on Wednesday evening as forecast showed “strong southwesterly winds gusting to 80 km/h."
He said they are in the process of contacting the pilot’s family in Uzbekistan.
“We are in shock. We’re just trying to understand the situation,” said Basti.
Chopper 24 was allowed near the crash site on Thursday, revealing a blackened path of charred earth past the dead end of a dirt road leading to a wooded area.
TSB chief investigator Ken Webster said the aircraft came down at a “very steep” angle of impact, completely destroying the airframe. He added they are aware that weather in the area was deteriorating at the time the crash occurred.
“Preliminary information indicates the destination was Quebec City," Webster told reporters at the scene. "It appears that the aircraft intended to land in Kingston as there was communication with the Kingston flight service station just prior to the accident."
He said the air force was able to find the wreckage due to an emergency locator in the wreckage that turned on after the impact.
Investigators are checking the wreckage, interviewing witnesses, the 54-year-old plane’s maintenance history, Oblokulov’s qualifications as a pilot as well as the regulatory requirements for the flight, said Webster.
Earlier in the day, TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said the aircraft isn't required by law to carry a flight data or cockpit voice recorder but investigators will search for other intact instruments, as well as radar data, to figure out what occurred.
The plane is powered by a single six cylinder engine and has a top speed of 280 km/h.
The TSB says four of its investigators are now at the scene.
The crash site is approximately six kilometres north of Kingston’s only airport.