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Investigation Continuing Following Bizarre Airplane Suicide

Posted Apr 21 2009 11:35pm
Nunavut RCMP are still searching for the body of a 20-year old Nunavut man who managed to open an aircraft door while the twin-engine plane was in flight and leap to his death on Wednesday night. The man was a passenger on an Adlair Aviation flight from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut when he became unruly and aircraft personnel attempted to restrain him. He opened the aircraft door while the plane was at 23,000 feet and jumped out while the plane was still 180 kilometers from the Cambridge Bay airport. The two pilots managed to make an emergency landing and their remaining passenger was unhurt. He was later identified as Julian Tologanak of Cambridge Bay. The airline has provided RCMP with GPS coordinates for the approximate location of the remains but bad weather has impeded the investigation. A careful air and ground search is still being made.

Reports indicate that the plane was making a medical flight and that Tologanak was being returned to Nunavut after the RCMP detained him under the Mental Health Act. He had been sent to a Yellowknife hospital by police due to his appearing distress. The airline had agreed to return him to Cambridge Bay at the request of Tologanak's family. Further information has not been released as the pilots were said to be too distraught to talk to the media.

It is unclear how the deceased was able to open the door while the cabin was pressurized. Despite speculation that one of the safety features of the Beechcraft King Air 200 twin-turboprop plane failed, the Transportation Safety Board has announced that it will not be conducting its own investigation. While police have not confirmed that the death was a suicide, the high rate of suicides among young Inuit males accounts for 40 per cent of deaths investigated by the coroner's office since Nunavut was created in 1999.

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