Mom, daughter killed in Saturna Island plane crash have San Juan ties
November 30, 2009 · Updated 4:20 PM
BULLETIN: The victims in the plane crash have been identified. See BCLOCALNEWS.COM
The sister-in-law and infant niece of a San Juan Island couple were killed Sunday when a floatplane in which they were passengers crashed after takeoff in Saturna Island's Lyall Harbour, east of Pender Island, B.C.
Witnesses at the scene say the Richmond-based deHavilland Beaver floatplane took off from Saturna after picking up two of the craft's eight occupants, but soon took a nose dive into the harbor. The crash occurred around 4:30 p.m.
Six people were killed, two were hospitalized. Among those killed were Dr. Kerry Telford and her daughter, Sarah, 6 months, of Vancouver, B.C. They are the sister-in-law and niece of William and Sharon Morrissey of San Juan Island. Telford was married to William's brother, Patrick, an occupational safety health inspector for a company that owns assisted living apartments and nursing homes.
The Coast Guard, RCMP and witnesses hit the water in boats quickly after the crash to search for survivors. The two injured — the plane's pilot and an unidentified woman — were plucked from the cold waters and airlifted to a hospital in Victoria. The bodies of the six who didn't survive were recovered early Monday morning.
Allen Olsen was in a local pub when the crash occurred and went to the scene to help recover victims. He described the crash to The Canadian Press.
"We saw the plane was in the water, at a 45-degree angle with one wing in the water and the tail and other wing sticking out," he told The Canadian Press. "The nose was in the water. We're scrambling to get the nose ready, and turned around and looked and it had sunk. I thought we would run out there in our boats and rescue people off of pontoons or something, and the plane was gone."
The plane operated by Seair Seaplanes, which operates out of Vancouver International Airport, was en route to Vancouver. The cause of the crash was not known Monday, but Canada's Transportation Safety Board says it hopes to speak with the pilot when he recovers from his injuries.
William Morrissey, a financial planner with offices in Friday Harbor and Mount Vernon, said he would drive to Vancouver, B.C. to be with his brother tonight.
Morrissey said his sister-in-law was returning home from a visit to Mayne Island when the plane crashed. He was told the plane sank in 46 feet of water. He said finding the plane was hampered in part by darkness at that depth. He said the plane wasn't located until about midnight.
Sharon Morrissey described her brother- and sister-in-law as a "real strong Christian couple," and her sister-in-law as a devoted doctor who was committed to ensuring women had access to good health care.
Telford was a doctor at the South Community Birth Program in Vancouver. A Web site, www.perumission.ca/about.htm, tells of her medical mission work in Peru in 2002.
"She was a cool person," Mrs. Morrissey said. "She helped women obtain medical care. She traveled to South America and worked with Catholic missions there. She was a real good person. It's a real loss to everybody."
Mrs. Morrissey said her sister- and brother-in-law have another daughter, Claire, 2. "She's already asking her dad why mommy's not coming back," Mrs. Morrissey said.
Mrs. Morrissey said she will accept condolences at her address and will deliver them to her brother-in-law. Send condolences c/o William and Sharon Morrissey, 259 Cape Drive, Friday Harbor WA. 98250.
"The more support you feel, it helps you get through times like this," she said.
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