Merville businessman one of three men killed in plane crash

A Merville businessman was one of three men identified who died in a floatplane crash on West Cracroft Island.

MERVILLE BUSINESSMAN FREDERICK Wiley

MERVILLE BUSINESSMAN FREDERICK Wiley

A Merville businessman was one of three men identified who died in a floatplane crash at Potts Lagoon on West Cracroft Island last Thursday morning.

Frederick Gerald Cecil Wiley, 40, died in the Cessna 185 owned by Air Cab of Coal Harbour, along with the second passenger, Norman Slavik, 59 of Surrey and pilot Kevin Roger Williams, 42, from Lake Country in the Okanagan.

Wiley owned Courtenay-based Cold Stone Logging while Slavik was a forestry consultant.

The plane left to pick up the two men in Port McNeill and flew southeast to West Cracroft Island.

Slavik was doing consulting work and had to fly into the area for an audit, said his uncle, Jack Bush, who lives in Comox.

“Norm was a really successful businessman; he was in the forestry industry for quite some time. He graduated form BCIT with a diploma in forestry management and he’s been in the forestry industry for a number of years,” Bush told media.

Bush said he believes the crash, on the east side of Robson Bight east of Alert Bay, was witnessed.

“It was like they ran out of air. They went into a turn and then they just dropped; that means you stall.”

The floatplane crashed into fairly dense forest and came to rest vertically.

As a result, volunteers from Campbell River Search and Rescue were called to help remove the bodies.

“These types of calls are sadly becoming more frequent for our group. We have attended numerous plane crashes in the last few years and dealing with the terrain and the logistics of recovering subjects is the hardest part,” said search manager Grant Cromer in a news release.

“This last crash was in a very remote area and required specialized skills to perform a safe recovery.”

All three men died on impact, and the Cessna was brought to Campbell River to be examined.

The crash remains under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and WorkSafeBC.

— With files from the Campbell River Mirror and CTV Vancouver Island