Francis Pilon | Journal of Montreal

An experienced pilot and his wife tragically died aboard their seaplane which crashed Friday afternoon in a river in Ferme-Neuve in the Hautes-Laurentides.

“He’s a boyfriend of mine. I saw him take off once or twice a week with his wife. It’s horrible. I called out his name when I saw him sink, but he never got out of the plane, ”Normand Vaudry says with emotion. 

It was he who called 911 on Friday, around 2 p.m., to report the crash of a seaplane in the Lièvre River. 

Mr. Vaudry was watching take off on the stream behind his house. 

He did not know, however, that this was the last time he saw André Meilleur alive. 

A wind blow ?

“They did not go very high,” he explains to the Journal . In my opinion, he lost control with a gust of wind. He messed up. I got on my nerves. I was sure they were going to come out of the water, but no. “

Normand Vaudry assures us that he tried to save the couple by taking his rowboat, but that it was already too late. 

When emergency services arrived on site, the aircraft was no longer accessible because the seaplane was completely upside down in the waterway.

Several maneuvers were made by the emergency services before succeeding in extracting the torque from the aircraft. 

About 45 minutes elapsed between the call to 911 and the time the victims were brought to the surface according to firefighters.

The man and woman were eventually taken to hospital in very critical condition.

For the moment, the cause of this crash has not been officially established. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (BTS) seized the file on Friday at the end of the day.

According to the Canadian Civil Aircraft Registry, André Meilleur had held his pilot’s license for over 25 years. 

He had owned his Piper seaplane since at least 1993.

His friend also mentions that he had just retired, at the age of 74, after a long career as an electrician. 

“He was supposed to come and change my light, he had promised me after he retired. All of this is sad for him and his wife who died, ”said Mr. Vaudry. 

The Journal has not been able to confirm the identity of André Meilleur’s wife at the time of publishing this text.

– With Cédérick Caron and Maxime Deland, Agence QMI