Memorial will remember Canadian Pacific Flight 21 crash

The Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21 was flying from Vancouver to Whitehorse on July 8, 1965 when it crashed near Dog Creek

Local resident Ruth Peterson wants to build a rock cairn at 100 Mile House Airport as a memorial to the 52 people who lost their lives in a tragic plane crash near 100 Mile nearly 48 years ago.

The Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21 was flying from Vancouver to Whitehorse on July 8, 1965 when it crashed near Dog Creek, about 40 kilometres west of 100 Mile House.

Around 3:40 p.m., three Mayday calls were heard by air traffic control in Vancouver.

An explosion had occurred in the lavatory at the back of the plane. The tail separated from the fuselage, and the aircraft plummeted into a wooded area.

All of the 46 passengers and six crew members perished perished in the fiery crash.

An inquest determined the explosion was the result of a bomb, but the source of the bomb was never determined.

Last year, Peterson and her husband, Barry, travelled to Dog Creek where the remnants of the Douglas DC-CB remain at the crash site.

“One of the reason’s I want to do the monument is to bring awareness to the event and the other reason is I don’t think the site is accessible for family and friends anymore. I just thought it should be in town where people could go when they just wanted to have a moment to reflect on their loved ones, and they don’t have to go all the way out to the crash site.”

After doing more research, Peterson said she learned a lot of local people helped out when the plane crashed and she wants to honour them, too.

She sent a letter to the District of 100 Mile House council last fall, and it was discussed at the March 12 committee of the whole meeting.

It was noted Peterson had discussed the concept and location of the cairn with the 100 Mile Flying Club, which operates the airport on behalf of the district, and there were no objections.

Councillor Spence Henderson said his former wife, Didi Henderson, lost her father, Wallace, who was on the plane and perished.

Mayor Mitch Campsall said 100 Mile House came to a standstill on the day of the crash, as everyone rushed out to search for survivors and to help in any way they could.

Spence said he is certain that it remains the largest unsolved crash in Canadian history.

Campsall added some believe it was the first act of terrorism in Canada and the largest unsolved terrorist attack in the country.

The memorial is in the beginning stages, Peterson said, adding she has taken her sketch of the cairn to Didi and her group for approval.

The next step is fundraising and Peterson believes it will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 to build the memorial.

“We are reaching out to the public for support for our cause, and people can my e-mail me at brpeters@telus.net if they would like to find out how to donate.”