Trinity Western University


Aviation Tragedy

Sorrow and loss have touched the Trinity community many times over the years. On March 5, 1991, six lives were lost in a tragic aviation accident.

A Trinity Western University flight instructor and five of his students were killed Tuesday when two airplanes crashed in a snowstorm near Bellingham.
Aviation students, travelling in five TWU Cessna 172s, were returning from a trip to California when they encountered snow and high winds in northern Washington State. One plane made it through, landing safely in Abbotsford, while the other two aircraft were able to turn around and touch down in Bayview, Washington, south of Bellingham…
“Flying TWU Students Killed,” The Langley Advance weekend edition, p.1, March 8, 1991 [TWU Archives: Coll. 3 B 1 File 1991]

The 1991 Pillar Yearbook was dedicated to those who lost their lives that day:

  • Teena Daly
  • Jeffrey Helzer
  • Al Karim Merali
  • Danny Penner
  • Graeme Seath (Instructor)
  • Terry Townsend
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    In the Headlines

    “Plane Crash Claims Six Aviators,” The Today [student newspaper], March 15, 1991, p. 4.

    view pdf

    [TWU Archives: Coll. 4 B 9 File 21]

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    Memorial Service

    A memorial service was held on campus at 11 a.m. Friday, March 8, 1991.

    view pdf

    [TWU Archives: F 2 B 51 File 37]

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    5th Anniversary

    Student Heather Geng ties a yellow ribbon around one of the six memorial trees in front of Douglas Centre, on the 5th anniversary of the accident, 1996.

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    [TWU Archives: 2006-01-0244]

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    Photograph of the plaque set into a stone located near the memorial trees. Photograph 1996.

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    [TWU Archives: 2006-01-0243]

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