Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
Former Coldwater men perish in plane crash
Family members witness fiery accident in Canada
By Shelley Grieshop
Two brothers - Coldwater natives - died Sunday afternoon in a fiery plane crash in Canada that was witnessed by family members.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Tom "Pete" Huwer, 53, and Joe Huwer, 45, both of Lumby, British Columbia. The crash occurred at 3 p.m. Sunday during an attempted landing at a rural airstrip 300 miles northeast of Vancouver.
Family members reportedly had gathered at the location for an annual Labor Day fly-in behind the farm of another brother, Jim Huwer.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Pete Huwer - who reportedly purchased the plane one year ago - attempted to land twice before crashing into his brother's farm field. The aircraft burst into flames upon impact.
The RCMP, which is investigating the accident with the British Columbia Coroners Service, said high winds buffeted the plane and likely caused it to shake as it descended.
Pete Huwer was a 1976 graduate of Coldwater High School. Joe Huwer graduated from a school in British Columbia.
The men's parents, Howard "Hap" and Irene Huwer, were farmers who lived a portion of each year in Coldwater and the remaining months in Canada. Irene Huwer passed away in 2001; Hap resides in Coldwater and Canada.
Two of the men's siblings, Bob Huwer and Sally Smackers, live in Coldwater. The remaining eight brothers and sisters survive in Canada.
Bob Huwer's daughter, Jenny Uhlenhake of Coldwater, did not attend the annual event Sunday, but noted it was suppose to be a special one for the family.
"It was the 40th anniversary of my grandparents living in Canada," she said.
Uhlenhake said this year's fly-in drew about eight to 10 planes to the small airstrip, where numerous family members arrived to relax and reminisce. To witness such a traumatic event was horrifying for them all, she said.
"Uncle Jim was out there feeding his pigs when the plane went down. He was the first one to get there," Uhlenhake said.
Pete Huwer was a hog farmer who leaves behind his wife, Lillian, and three children: John, 28, Karen, 24, and Nicole, 17.
Joe Huwer was a cattle rancher. He is survived by his wife, Shona, and their four children: Lee, 11, Jackie-Lynn, 8, Jesse, 6, and Jamie, 3.