Just a quick update on the pilot who was found guilty last November of four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, one count of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of an aircraft.
Sentence expected Thursday for pilot in fatal Winnipeg crash
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | 1:52 PM CT
A Winnipeg judge will hand down her sentence Thursday in the case of a pilot convicted of criminal negligence after he crash-landed his plane on a high-traffic Winnipeg intersection in 2002, killing one man and hurting several others.
Calgary-based commercial pilot Mark Tayfel was found guilty last November of four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, one count of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of an aircraft.
The Crown and defence in his case made sentencing arguments in Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday morning.
Tayfel also spoke, making an emotional apology to the passengers of the Keystone Air flight six years ago. With a trembling voice, he said he was responsible for getting them back to Winnipeg safely, and he failed to do that.
He said he was deeply saddened when he heard of the death of one of the men several months later, describing it as the "worst news ever."
Tayfel described how difficult the last six years have been for him and his family, including his new wife, although he acknowledged the pain of the passengers' families have been surely worse.
He said he doubted he would fly again.
Crown attorney Brian Wilford asked for a sentence of "real jail time" for what he described as Tayfel's "utter disregard for his passengers' safety."
But defence lawyer Balfour Derr argued that Tayfel does not deserve jail time, saying he has already been punished enough. A suspended sentence with probation or house arrest would be more appropriate, he said.
Tayfel could use his experiences to teach student pilots about the risks and pressures associated with flying for small companies, Derr said.
Tayfel, 42, had been flying six American fishermen from a remote Manitoba fishing lodge on June 11, 2002, when his twin-engine plane ran out of fuel.
Both engines cut out shortly after he missed the runway on his first attempt to land at Winnipeg's airport, and the plane eventually came to a rest in the middle of McPhillips Street and Logan Avenue, a busy downtown Winnipeg intersection.
Passenger Chester Jones, 79, died from his injuries in hospital several weeks after the crash.
Counter to Tayfel's claims that he should not have been held responsible for what happened, Justice Holly Beard concluded in November that he made too many misjudgments and showed a reckless disregard for the lives of others.
He miscalculated the amount of fuel needed given the weather conditions and also decided to press on with the flight despite being aware of the possibility that the Piper Navajo aircraft was not equipped with a mandatory auto-pilot system, she ruled.
Any thoughts on what the judge should do?