Dr. Bill Phipps of Campbell River pilots his aerobatic biplane during the 2005 airshow at CFB Comox. Dr. Phipps suffered serious injuries on Saturday when his plane crashed during the Nanaimo Airshow.

Campbell River Pilot injured after Nanaimo airport crash

Dr. Bill Phipps, 71, is listed in stable condition after his stunt plane crashed during an airshow at the Nanaimo airport Saturday.

Dr. Bill Phipps, 71, is listed in stable condition after his stunt plane crashed during an airshow at the Nanaimo airport Saturday.

Dr. Phipps suffered significant facial and internal injuries as well as broken bones after his plane nose-dived into the ground during his eight minute opening performance at the Wings and Wheel event and was taken to Victoria Hospital.

Hundreds of people had gathered for the first air show hosted at the Nanaimo airport in three years, when the tragedy unfolded. Out of respect for the family, the rest of the airshow was cancelled and airport authority closed the airport to all incoming and outgoing air traffic.

According to Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokeperson, the plane was destroyed on impact and no other else was injured or involved.

“The BC Ambulance as well as Cranberry Fire and Rescue were quickly on scene and were able to remove the male from the carnage,” he said. “ Transport Canada is assuming the lead role in this investigation and the RCMP will be assisting.”

Nanaimo Flying Club President Barbara Riddy said the pilot had just undergone a medical exam before the show and was in peak condition before taking to the sky.

“For them to perform, they have to produce a valid medical certificate, and the medicals that Transport Canada gives you are quite rigorous,” she said.

Riddy didn’t divulge any name  but said the pilot is an experienced, well-known performer whose airman-ship is second to none, and that age would not have played a factor in Saturday’s crash.

“He’s a rock-solid performer,” she said.

The Nanaimo Flying Club is now considering whether it will continue to hold the airshow annually or every two years.

“There’s a lot of paperwork you have to do with Transport Canada, people don’t realize how much work is involved,” she said.

Riddy thanked spectators for their patience and understanding during the tragic ordeal.

“The public was super,” she said. “There was nobody that went beyond the barriers, they all listened and were understanding when the show was cancelled.”

Just Posted

First responders searched area at Clinton Rd. near Stories Beach south of Campbell River today

First responders rushed to Clinton Rd. near Stories Beach today after initial… Continue reading

Campbell River fire crews rescue two seniors trapped by mudslide, four homes evacuated

The City of Campbell River issued an evacuation order for four homes… Continue reading

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Power outages in Campbell River region after last nights storm

Stormy weather across the region has knocked out the power for many… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

UPDATE: Ferries sailing again after stormy weather caused cancellations

B.C. Ferries cancelled numerous sailings around Vancouver Island today, Jan. 21

Homes, roads flooded in Whiskey Creek following downpour

Crews aid flooded homeowners while roads near Hwy 4 closed Sunday morning

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read