North Pole pilot dies in Yukon crash

Posted: Friday, April 06, 2001

WHITEHORSE, Yukon (AP) -- A North Pole pilot died after his airplane crashed into frozen Teslin Lake in the Yukon last Friday, according to Canadian authorities.

Gregory Smith, 43, went down after running into high winds and blowing snow, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Smith was alone in the plane, heading for Whitehorse from Fort St. John, British Columbia.

The pilot appears to have crashed while trying to turn around, said Cpl. Tim Ashmore of the Teslin RCMP.

''He didn't have his landing gear out, so I don't think he was trying to land,'' Ashmore said.

Smith was en route to Whitehorse from Fort St. John, B.C., but never arrived at his destination.

Smith radioed the Whitehorse tower at 7:30 p.m. to report his position was near Teslin.

''He said he was in a snowstorm, but that he was going to follow the Alaska Highway up to Whitehorse,'' Ashmore said. The plane was reported missing at around 10 p.m. when Smith didn't arrive. Search planes checked the area late that night and early the following morning, but the plane wasn't spotted until around 7:30 a.m.

Investigators from the Canadian Transportation Safety Board visited the scene and started an investigation to try to determine the cause of the crash.

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