• Craig Baird

The 1948 Vermilion Plane Crash


Cyrill Wetterley. Photo submitted

In May of 1948, Viscount Alexander Governor General of Canada was visiting Vermilion with his wife Lady Alexander in order to attend an air show in the community. Sadly, that air show would result in a tragedy.

Cyrill Wetterley was piloting an aircraft towards Vermilion in order to see the air show. As he approached the Vermilion field, the plane suddenly plunged to the ground and crashed into the farmland owned by William MeGinnes.

The plane was owned by Wetterley and was completely destroyed. The crash occurred half an hour before the air show was about to start. The air show would go on as planned with no one aware of the deaths that had happened nearby.

An airfield control tower employee reported quote:

“It appeared the pilot lost control of the aircraft or it suddenly lost airspeed and plunged into the ground.”

Wreckage was scattered around the field but the plane did not catch fire.

Also present on the plane was a 15-year-old boy named Walter Baranec, who was on his way to see the airshow with Cyrill.

Cyrill’s mother stated that he had phoned her at 3:30 p.m. and said that he would be home for supper and that he was flying to the Vermilion air show.

Wetterley was a member of the Edmonton Flying Club and he had owned his plane for roughly one year and held a private pilot’s licence. He was also an accountant with North West Industries Ltd.

The plane was sent to Edmonton where it would be determined what had happened in the crash.

I put out a history magazine that highlights many aspects of Canadian history. It is free and is delivered to your inbox. E-mail me to subscribe at craig@canadaehx.com

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