THE WRECK OF QUEEN CHARLOTTE AIRLINES

On June 17, 2021, the Nanaimo Historical Society released its member-produced video documentary of the ascent of Mount Benson to the crash site of a Queen Charlotte Airlines PBY-5A, registry CF-FOQ in which all 23 persons aboard were killed instantly.

After 70 years the forest has long since recovered from the explosive crash in which most of the aircraft disintegrated on fiery impact with the north face of Mount Benson. But even after this passage of time our team was still able to discover ample wreckage and identifiable parts across a wide debris field.
We also investigate the factors and circumstances that led up to the crash, as well as the unfolding news reporting during the aftermath.

The research and site visit also begs the question as to why this tragedy (the worst aviation disaster in BC history up to that time) and its lost souls has not been observed by a permanent memorial or cenotaph.

An article on this virtual field trip, written by NHS member Darrell Ohs, has just been published in the British Columbia History magazine. View the article here.

We acknowledge that we meet on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people from whom Nanaimo takes its name.