Military identifies 2 soldiers as victims of small-plane crash near Winnipeg

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The names of the two victims killed in a fatal plane crash near Winnipeg have now been released by 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region headquarters in Winnipeg. Capt. Bradley Ashcroft and Capt. Zachary Cloutier-Gill were flying in a non-military aircraft and were not on duty at the time of the crash.

Ashcroft served in the Canadian Armed Forces for over nine years and was a member of the construction engineering branch.

Cloutier-Gill served for nearly 12 years and was an air combat systems officer.

Both men were stationed at the Winnipeg base.

Military spokesman David Lavallee said neither are military pilots by trade, and which man was operating the aircraft is part of the investigation.

“As to what kind of training, we are not aware of that. We are not aware of which man was the pilot,” he said.

“This is certainly a tragedy. We’ve lost two members of our family. No matter what the circumstances it’s tragic and right now our focus in on supporting the families.”

RCMP had earlier described the deceased as a 27-year-old pilot and a 28-year-old passenger, both from Winnipeg.

The single-engine Piper PA 28 plane came down in the Rural Municipality of Springfield at about 10 a.m. Friday morning after taking off from the tiny Lyncrest Flight Centre.

Jim Oke, president of the Recreational Aircraft Association, which owned the plane, described the pilot as having between beginner and intermediate experience.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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