June 07, 2016 - 11:30 AM
SURREY, B.C. - A Surrey, B.C., man is telling a remarkable story of flying skills and survival in the rugged mountains north of Vancouver.
Eighty-one-year-old Vern Hannah was at the controls of a single-engine Beechcraft Musketeer on Sunday, flying two other men on a sightseeing tour from Pitt Meadows to Pemberton, B.C.
Hannah says he misjudged the route to Pemberton and angled too far to the south, trapping his 1960s vintage aircraft in a dead-end valley, hemmed by steep mountains.
Relying on 40 years of piloting experience, Hannah says he lowered the nose of the plane to increase flight speed in order to jump what he calls rock piles, before running out of room and speed and stalling on a glacier south of Whistler.
One of Hannah's passengers says the landing was like coming down on a pillow, with only minor damage to the Musketeer and no injuries to anyone on board.
The crash happened at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday and rescuers did not spot the trio until late afternoon Monday, but Hannah says there was a tearful reunion with family just hours later.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016