KINGSTON, Ontario (AP) — Five of the seven people who died in a small plane crash in Canada were members of a Houston-area family, according to friends of the family.
A spokeswoman for the Ontario chief coroner’s office said the victims’ names likely won’t be released for several days. Mehmet Basti, a Toronto college instructor, told local news outlets that five of those killed were his friend Otabek Oblokulov of Missouri City, Texas, his wife and his three children, aged 3, 11 and 15. Basti also said the other two aboard were a young couple from Toronto.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the U.S.-registered, single-engine, six-seat Piper PA-32 airplane crashed about 5 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area of Kingston, Ontario, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Ottawa on the Ontario-New York border.
The plane had taken off from an airport in Markham, Ontario, a Toronto suburb and was on approach to Kingston’s airport when officials say it took a steep dive into the wooded area. Kingston Police Constable Ash Gutheinz said the area was under a wind advisory at the time, and while winds may not have been as bad as predicted, it was certainly “blustery.”
The aircraft did not have a flight data recorder, nor was it required to have one, said lead TSB investigator Ken Webster.
Basti said the Oblokulovs had planned to stop in Kingston to visit his family and friends before proceeding to Quebec City for vacation. “We were waiting for their call when they landed. We waited a long time, so I searched on Google and this showed up,” he said, referring to the crash. He and Zack Balicki, another friend, went to the crash site Thursday.