Tougher Standards Urged For Northern Pilots

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A Canadian coroner's jury is recommending tougher standards for northern pilots (particularly inexperienced ones) and better emergency equipment in its assessment of a crash that resulted in four deaths in the Northwest Territories Dec. 31, 2001. The jurors found that 23-year-old pilot Dana Wentzell took off in bad weather despite warnings from more experienced pilots, according to the Canadian Press. The Cessna 172 crashed into a mountain near Fort Good Hope, NWT, about 500 miles northwest of the capital city of Yellowknife. Passenger Kole Crook, 27, died on impact but Wentzell and sisters Ashley, 18, and Lindsay Andrew, 11, survived the crash only to die of exposure before rescuers found them. The jury said northern pilots need more training on decision-making and also suggested a probation period for inexperienced fliers. The jury also recommended that all aircraft flying in the North carry satellite telephones and that emergency locaters be upgraded. Wentzell flew for Ursus Air, which the inquest was told had been sanctioned for violating Transport Canada regulations.