Seaspan crew in crash – update

This post is a follow up on the airplane crash that occurred two weeks ago on Vancouver Island, claiming the life of 5 people, 4 of them, employees of Seaspan, a large marine services company based in Vancouver BC.

The following men were involved in the accident…

  • Terry Axton, 51, of Maple Ridge. He was a loader, employed with Seaspan for 30 years. He leaves a partner and two children behind.
  • Scott Thorne, 56, of Vancouver. He was a ship’s Mate employed on the Seaspan King, having worked his way from deckhand. He had 30 years under his belt at Seaspan. He leaves a wife and two daughters behind.
  • Grant Wood, 62, of Chilliwack. He was a loader, employed with Seaspan for 23 years. He leaves his wife and two children behind.
  • Mark McLean, 48, of Comox. He was a loader who recently began working with Seaspan.
  • Simon Lawrence, 36, of Port Hardy, was the pilot, and employed with Pacific Coastal for 2 years.
  • Survivors were Lorne Clowers, 56, of Squamish and an eight year veteran of Seaspan who suffered a broken pelvis in the accident.
  • Also surviving, was Bob Pomponio, 54, of Campbell River who suffered a fractured hip, but manage to drag Mr. Clowers 50 meters away from the burning aircraft. Mr. Pomponio, recently hired by Seaspan, was credited with effecting a “prompt” rescue using his cell phone’s texting feature, to direct search and rescue planes to their location, after the destruction of the aircraft’s emergency beacon. The two were seated at the rear of the airplane, and managed to get out before the plane caught fire after the crash.

The Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious plane, on charter at the time and operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines of Vancouver, crashed in a remote forested area of British Columbia, near the town of Port Alice on Vancouver Island. The crash occurred around 0700hrs on the morning of Sunday, August 03, 2008, halfway into a 20 minutes flight from Port Hardy, BC, at the north east end of Vancouver Island, to Chamiss Bay, in Kyuquot Sound, on the island’s north west coast. The plane was subsequently destroyed by fire. The wreckage was salvaged and is the focus of a Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation based in Richmond BC.

Seven person were on board the flight; five of whom were crane operators, also know as “loaders” and were employed by Vancouver based Seaspan International. The sixth Seaspan crew was the ship’s Mate. The flight was bringing the crew to the Seaspan King, which had towed its self loading, self dumping log barge to the inlet. Once there the loaders were to operate the barge’s own crane, loading bundles of logs onto the barge. Once loading is done, the loaders fly out, the tugboat gets underway to the destination of dumping.

Seaspan is contemplating a memorial for the victims of this accident, the worst in their operating history.

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