Plane crash ruled accidental

The provincial coroners office has officially ruled the deaths of two Lumby brothers in a Labour Day weekend 2010 plane crash as accidental.

Thomas Paul (Pete) Huwer, 53, and Joseph Jack (Joe) Huwer, 45, were killed Sept. 5, 2010 after Pete’s plane crashed into a field near the Huwer property in Lumby. The pair had gone up to search for some of Joe’s missing cattle.

The plane, a Christavia Mark 1 model, was built from a kit in 1998 and sold to Pete in 2008. Pete had taken the plane up earlier in the day with no problems.

With Joe in the backseat of the plane, Pete took off shortly after 3 p.m. Both men were wearing their seatbelts. Weather conditions at the crash site were 17 degrees Celsius with gusty winds that could affect an aircraft’s performance.

The coroner’s report said as the plane left the ground, “the aircraft had difficulty in gaining altitude and the pilot appeared to have difficulty in maintaining control.

“The aircraft described a small left circle, gaining then losing altitude and side-slipping. As the aircraft continued to circle again, it turned increasingly left, slowed dramatically, rolled left and the nose pitched down.”

The report said the plane crashed from a height of approximately 75 metres and burst into flames upon impact. The flight lasted slightly over one minute.

The flight was filmed by Huwer family members.

The report said the video showed various points in the flight where the aircraft was being affected by the wind conditions and/or the pilot was experiencing a control problem.

Also visible on the footage were numerous birds that could cause a pilot to abruptly maneuver an aircraft or lose control if the aircraft was struck.

Those factors could contribute to an aerodynamic stall, and the coroner said the flight profile portrayed in the video is consistent with such a stall, and “this took place at a relatively low altitude making it difficult for the pilot to recover before impacting the ground.”

The coroner concluded that Pete Huwer died due to multiple blunt force trauma sustained in a plane crash, and Joe Huwer died due to severe thermal injury as a result of a fire from a plane crash.