Coroner releases name of victim from Monday’s plane crash

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died after an air crash near Anahim Lake Monday

Angie MindusWilliams Lake Tribune


UPDATE: The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of a man who died after an air crash near Anahim Lake Monday as that of Leonard Michael Banga, 42, of Saskatoon, Sask.

Banga was a well-known Saskatoon businessman who owned Xtreme Mining and Demolition and bought Corman Air Park, south of the city in recent years. Banga also became known for a 2013 dispute with members of the Hells Angels, several of whom had been employed with his demolition company.

Banga was the pilot of a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver airplane, which took off from the Vanderhoof airport at about 9 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2016, en route to Laidman Lake, a remote lake southwest of Vanderhoof. About 25 minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed into a heavily wooded area about 20 kilometres east of Laidman Lake. Mr. Banga was deceased at the scene. Four other persons on board the plane were rescued and transported to hospital.

Banga’s company told media that four people injured in the crash remain in hospital.

The BC Coroners Service, Transportation Safety Board and RCMP continue to investigate Banga’s death.

The aircraft had taken off from the Vanderhoof Airport at 9 a.m. Monday scheduled for a 30-minute flight to Laidman Lake when it crashed about 25 minutes into their flight, said Transportation Safety Board regional manager Bill Yearwood.

Yearwood said it is believed the 42-year-old victim was the owner of the aircraft and was piloting friends and employees to Laidman Lake, located about 80 kilometres north of Anahim Lake, on a hunting trip into the area when the aircraft lost altitude and collided with trees and terrain.

“It broke apart (on impact). The pilot, sadly, lost his life,” said Yearwood of the aircraft.

Yearwood said all four passengers survived the crash, three with minor injuries and one with serious injuries, and used their cell phone to call for help.

“(The crash site) is in the middle of nowhere and thankfully they had cell coverage,” Yearwood said.

“Everybody was able to co-ordinate a quick response.”

In a news release issued regarding the crash, police said the Burns Lake RCMP immediately activated several resources which included the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), with CFB Comox providing a Search and Rescue Buffalo aircraft and a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter. The Vanderhoof Search and Rescue Team was also dispatched to the scene via helicopter.

BC Ambulance Services were also involved at multiple points.

The crash location was confirmed as being 120 kilometre southwest of Vanderhoof, near Moose Lake and the NuGold Mine area.

“On attendance to the crash site, three CFB Comox SAR technicians parachuted from the Buffalo aircraft into the site to provide First Aid to survivors. All four survivors were extracted from the crash site in rescue baskets lowered from the helicopter. The Vanderhoof SAR technicians were able to land near the site and able to extricate the body of the 42-year-old deceased pilot from the wreckage. The pilot’s body was transported out of the site by the Vanderhoof SAR Team on behalf of the BC Coroners Services,” stated RCMP Cpl Dan Moskaluk.

Yearwood said all of the survivors were transported to nearby Anahim Lake, where an EHS helicopter was standing by.

Three of the injured were transported to the Lower Mainland and one to Kamloops for medical treatment, all via BCAS Medi-Vac aircraft.

The injured men were 50, 47, 36 and 30 years of age and all believed to be from Saskatoon, Sask.

Yearwood said the aircraft was an amphibious de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

He said three TSB investigators were at the crash site Tuesday examining the wreckage, debris field and scars in the terrain.

“We can learn from there what may have happened.”

The Burns Lake and Anahim Lake RCMP are continuing to assist the BC Coroners Services and the Transportation Safety Board with their investigation into the crash and the man’s death.



Just Posted

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read