Pilot did nothing wrong, says crash survivor

  • Jan. 17, 2003 2:00 p.m.

The Husby Forest Products handyman injured in a float plane accident January 9 says the pilot is not to blame.
“I’ve been flying up and down the coast since 1949 and I’ve never seen water as glassy as that,” Howard Stromquist, 68, told the Observer in a telephone interview from his home in Abbotsford. The pilot did nothing wrong, he added.
The accident happened very quickly, according to Mr. Stromquist. The $1.5-million DeHavilland Otter, a single-engined turbine aircraft, approached with a left hand turn, but it felt to Mr. Stromquist as though the right pontoon hit first. The plane, on a scheduled flight from Prince Rupert to Masset and Eden Lake, bounced in and then off the water. When if finally stopped, he and the pilot crawled out and waited for help from the Husby camp, which sent a boat out to get them. While he waited, Mr. Stromquist recovered his waterproof suitcase and let it float beside him. He says he barely got wet. The plane then sank in about 23 metres of water.
At first he didn’t think he was hurt, but next morning Mr. Stromquist realized he’d hurt his shoulder, so he flew out of camp to Masset to see a doctor. After spending one more night in camp, he flew home where his own doctor has instructed him to rest for two or three months.
Mr. Stromquist is taking the accident in stride. “I’ve been flying in and out of camps since 1949 and something is bound to happen at some point in your life,” he says philosophically. He is recovering at home from torn shoulder ligaments.
Eden Lake is about thirty kilometres southwest of Masset.