WINNIPEG – An eyewitness to Friday’s fatal plane crash just outside of Winnipeg says she initially thought the plane was crop dusting.
Heather Manchulenko says she and her husband were out driving near Deacon’s Corner when they noticed how low the small Piper P28 plane was flying.
“It went over the hill, by the Perimeter there…it kind of went down, my husband thought maybe there was something wrong with it and then next thing you know, it was basically flying like a 90 degree angle, straight up and the tail end of the plane looked like it hit one of the lines,” she says. “Next thing you know, instead of flying up, the plane did a complete nosedive, disappeared behind the hill again and then there was a big cloud of smoke.”
Manchulenko says her husband slammed on the breaks and ran up the hill to see if he could help.
“The nose of the plane was in the ground with the tail in the air and the whole cockpit was up in flames,” she says.
They both knew there was nothing they could do.
“Honestly, I just started praying. I was glad my kids didn’t see. Helpless. This is the kind of thing you see in movies, not real life.”
Capt. Bradley Ashcroft and Capt. Zachary Cloutier-Gill, both with the Canadian Forces, died in the crash. Both men were off duty at the time.
The cause is still under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board.