Flight 21 memorial marks 50 years

Crash victims' loved ones to gather, plaque unveiling

Family and friends of victims of the Canadian Pacific Flight 21 crash in 1965 are coming from far and wide to gather at the Memorial Cairn by the South Cariboo Visitor Centre on July 8

Family and friends of victims of the Canadian Pacific Flight 21 crash in 1965 are coming from far and wide to gather at the Memorial Cairn by the South Cariboo Visitor Centre on July 8

July 8 marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic plane crash of Canadian Pacific Flight 21 in 1965.

A memorial will be held at the stone cairn by the South Cariboo Visitor Centre to recognize the 52 people who lost their lives a half-century ago near Dog Creek.

The memorial is being organized by Didi Henderson, who lost her father, Wallace Emo, in the crash.

While the incident may be a historical footnote to some, Henderson says it is still current history to the victims’ families.

“We will be having a small gathering at the cairn in 100 Mile House on July 8 at 1 p.m.”

Family and friends of people who were killed will be coming from across North America and also overseas to commemorate, and Henderson hopes to encourage more.

“We would really love to get the word out to more local people who volunteered after the crash. If they can contact me and let us know they will attend, it would be great.”

A new plaque will be unveiled at the cairn that expresses gratitude to the people who went out to search the large crash site in 1965, and whose lives were undoubtedly affected by it, she explains.

It is an opportunity for friends of people who perished in the crash, and family members who

have never come to the area to attend a memorial and pay their respects, she notes.

“I imagine a lot of people will be going out to the crash site on their own.

“My experience with other people who have lost a loved one in the crash [is] it’s still raw for them because they haven’t had the opportunity to get close to the story. That, to me, is what this memorial is about.”

A private gathering will follow later in the day.

Henderson says the families ask everyone who visits to respect the site. It is a protected area and crash artifacts must not be disturbed or removed, she notes.

Ruth Peterson had the idea for the stone memorial cairn and was instrumental in getting it built two years ago, she adds.

Peterson says installing the new plaque was a matter of funding.

“It was always my intention to have the plaque done before the 50th anniversary in July.”

In order to have the plaque ready and to hold the memorial, local volunteers are left with a deficit in funding, she notes.

Any donations are appreciated and can be dropped off at the District of 100 Mile House Office at 385 Birch Ave., which will issue tax receipts.

More information on the crash, cairn and family stories is on Facebook under C.P. Air Flight 21.

For more information or to confirm your interest in participating, call Didi at 250-791-6295.