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Thu, Mar 31, 2016

Former Canadian Transport Minister Fatally Injured In Aircraft Accident

Was Among Seven On Board The Airplane When It Went Down

A former Canadian Transport Minister was among seven people on board a Mitsubishi turboprop airplane that went down in the Ilies-de-la-Madeleine off eastern Quebec Tuesday. All on board the aircraft were fatally injured.

CTV News Channel reports that 59-year-old Jean Lapierre was traveling to the funeral of his father, who had recently passed away at the age of 83. Other members of Lapierre's family were also believed to have been on board the aircraft, according to the Associated Press.

LaPierre had served as a member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 1993. He had begun his career as a Liberal, but switched to independent and helped found the Bloc Quebecois party that promoted sovereignty for Quebec. He retired once from politics and cut ties with the Bloc, but returned to Parliament, again as a Liberal, from 2004 to 2007. He later became a well-known political analyst on radio and television.

Quebec provincial police Sgt. Daniel Thibodeau said the plane went down in a field that was in the approach corridor for the airport. He described the weather conditions as "not ideal" for flying. Environment Canada said there were strong winds and heavy snow in the area of the accident, according to Fox News.

CTV News Channel reports that a witness said the plan impacted the ground, bounced over a hill, and then impacted terrain a second time. "The second hit really took its toll on the plane," said witness Antonin Valiquette.

"Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America sends its deepest condolences to those in grief after the terrible loss of the pilots and passengers involved in the accident," said Scott Sobel, spokesperson for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America.

"There are initial reports of bad weather during the time of the accident, but we know nothing else at this time. Mitsubishi investigators are gathering all information that they can and, of course, will cooperate with investigating authorities, both in Canada and the U.S., as we understand the plane is registered in the U.S.

"The majority of approximately 270 MU-2 aircraft are registered in the United States where the aircraft has a best in its class safety record during the last eight years. According to FAA regulations, MU-2 pilots have to be current and up-to-date in their training in order to fly the aircraft.

"Again, the Mitsubishi aviation family is deeply saddened by the reports of this accident and sends condolences to the loved ones of those aboard the aircraft that went down at Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine," said Sobel.

(Image from file. Not accident aircraft)

FMI: www.tsb.gc.ca/eng

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