Canadian Pilot Guilty In Crash

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A Canadian court has found an Alberta pilot guilty of criminal negligence and unsafe operation of an aircraft for a 2002 accident that led to the death of a Kansas man. Mark Tayfel admitted he misjudged the amount of fuel required for the round trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Gunisao Lake Lodge to pick up six American tourists on a fishing trip. He initially made it to Winnipeg International Airport, but for reasons that arenít clear had to abort the landing. Both engines on the Piper Chieftain quit on the go-around, and the aircraft crash-landed in a Winnipeg intersection. Kansas resident Chester Jones, 79, died three months later from injuries suffered in the crash, and four others were injured. In his defense, Tayfel said running out of gas was an honest mistake and not a criminal act.

The judge disagreed, saying his "hasty" check of the fuel gauges to determine the fuel load wasn't enough. "His various explanations sound more like after-the-fact justifications for his very hasty estimate as to the amount of fuel on board rather than any attempt to make the considered calculation expected of a reasonable and prudent person," the unidentified judge was quoted as writing in his judgment by the Winnipeg Sun. Tayfel was found guilty of one count of criminal negligence causing death, four counts of criminal negligence causing injury and one count of operating an aircraft in a manner dangerous to the public. All the charges can result in jail time. A sentencing date has not been set.