COLD LAKE, Alta. — An airshow in Alberta took a tragic turn on Sunday when a plane crashed and "disintegrated,'' killing the pilot.
A public affairs officer at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake said the T-28 Trojan went down during a performance at the show Sunday afternoon.
The pilot, Bruce Evans, died in the crash, said Capt. Matthew Strong.
Evans was "always smiling... a pilot's pilot," according to Vintage Wings of Canada. He flew his "beloved" T-28 Trojan across Canada and as far as Florida.
Pilot Bruce Evans was killed Sunday when his plane went down at an air show in Cold Lake, Alta. (Photo: Vintage Wings of Canada)
The crash occurred in view of horrified airshow spectators, among them Cathy Heron, a city councillor from St. Albert, Alta.
Plane 'disintegrated into dust'
"It just had gone and inverted and done a loop or something, and then it just nose-dived right into the ground,'' said Heron.
"It just sort of disintegrated into dust in the hill.''
Edmonton resident Jim McCulley said he was watching the show with a friend from the VIP tent when the plane went down.
"I haven't been to an airshow before, everything just seemed normal,'' he said.
"It just nose-dived right into the ground.''
"I actually did not see the plane hit the ground, I looked away for a second and we just heard this kind of pop.''
McCulley said it took him a moment to realize that what was unfolding was not a planned part of the show.
"I was shocked, both my friend and I were in disbelief,'' he said.
Announcers and workers at the show kept the crowd calm and eventually directed them out of the area.
McCulley said he and his friend were still stunned as they walked around the grounds where there was a trade show and display.
After about a half hour with the announcement the show was closing, McCulley said mood was eery and quiet as the remaining spectators filed out.
"I'm sure there was a mix of emotions going around,'' he said.
Pilot grew up in air force family
Evans grew up in an Canadian air force family with his father working as an aircraft maintenance engineer, his biography on the Cold Lake airshow website states.
He ran his own airborne geophysical survey company Firefly Airborne Surveys combining his training as a professional geologist and passion for aviation.
An air show in Cold Lake, Alta. took a tragic turn on Sunday when one plane crashed, killing its pilot Bruce Evans. (Photo: Vintage Wings of Canada)
Through his career, Evans accumulated over 41,000 hours of flight time experience.
In 2007, Evans purchased the Trojan, a single engine, propeller driven aircraft that was manufactured in 1955 and served in the U.S. Navy.
The Cold Lake Airshow is a two-day event hosted by the Canadian Forces that features pilots and aircraft from across the continent including Canada's iconic Snowbirds demonstration team.
The Transportation Safety Board said a team has been sent out to survey the crash and determine whether a full investigation is needed.
A spokeswoman said the team was to be on scene into the evening and more information will likely be available on Monday.
With files from Emma Paling
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