Plane had equipment trouble before Gabriola Island crash

Equipment issue led to crash

Transport Canada says early information indicates there was an equipment issue before a plane crash that claimed three lives on Gabriola Island on Tuesday.

The agency reported the data on Friday in its Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System, which it says contains preliminary, unsubstantiated information that can change.

The entry in the system says there were three fatalities on the privately registered Piper plane flying from Bishop, Calif., to Nanaimo, B.C.

It says the operator reported an equipment issue and deviated from the approach before dropping off radar.

The Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre advised that the aircraft had crashed on Gabriola Island, just east of Nanaimo.

The BC Coroners Service and RCMP have confirmed there were multiple fatalities in the crash, which happened around 6 p.m. Tuesday, but have not said how many people died.

Friends have identified charter pilot Alex Bahlsen as being among the dead, describing him as a very good friend and grandfather who lived with his wife in Mill Bay, B.C.

"He was a kind, caring, very intelligent, adventurous and fun guy — very talented," said his friend Rasmus Rydstrom-Poulsen.

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