Plane confiscated after Caribou dropped off in Sheshatshiu

Derek Montague
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A single otter airplane is seen after taking-off from the shore in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu early Thursday evening, after it dropped off a load of hunted caribou.

A single otter airplane landed on the shore in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu early Thursday evening, dropping off a load of hunted caribou. It is unclear how many animals were aboard, but two witnesses told The Labradorian they saw caribou being taken away from the plane.

“A skidoo came off the ice and went on past me, with one caribou in the komatik,” said one witness.

The plane brought out a large crowd from the community. People came out in their cars and snowmobiles, almost completely blocking the road along the shore of Sheshatshiu.

Not long after the otter plane left, Big Land Aviation co-owners Albert Michelin (who was an RCMP officer in Labrador for 18 years before transfering to New Brunswick) and Clarence Froude were made aware that their Turbo Single Otter airplane had been seized.

“I got a call from the (RCMP) hangar… saying it was seized,” said Froude. “He asked me how to put (the plane) in the hangar.”

Neither Froude nor Michelin could confirm or deny if caribou was aboard the plane. Both insist their company did nothing wrong.

“Our plane is chartered every day,” says Froude.  “I don’t question anybody (on what they’ll use the plane for) …it’s none of my business.”

“Our pilots don’t fish, they don’t hunt, they don’t partake (in the client’s activities),” said Michelin. “I’m going to be contacting lawyers and I will sue the government to recoup any losses, if necessary.”

Michelin says that the turbo otter is the only plane that the company has in Labrador. The company has another that operates out of Ontario.

Michelin and Froude say they are still awaiting official confirmation from the Wildlife Department that their plane has been seized. They also say they have yet to hear back from the two pilots that were aboard the plane.

Organizations: RCMP, Wildlife Department

Geographic location: Sheshatshiu, Tobique, Labrador

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Recent comments

  • gord
    March 01, 2013 - 20:16

    I agree with "Ralph", in fact Mr Froude's comments may very well be accepted as a violation of his permit with Transport Canada. I expect we will hear more on this now.

  • CJ
    March 01, 2013 - 13:34

    If the Innu or Inuit insist on their "traditional" ways such as hunting, let them have it JUST CUT OFF THEIR GOVERNMENT FUNDING and let them live traditionally

    • Darren Robertson
      March 01, 2013 - 23:25

      Sure. The government can cut off Inuit, Metis and Innu funds. So long as we close all the mines and blow up the Dams in Labrador that destroy our lands. And the government game of stealing resources for revenue will be forever over. We would happily welcome Labrador Independence.

    • Jim Gear
      March 04, 2013 - 09:16

      It appears that CJ don't know the difference between Innu and Inuit.It is the Innu that are continuing to hunt and defies the ban on caribou hunting. The Inuit are abiding by the ban and in fact urged the NL government to place a moratorium on caribou hunting.I think CJ should get his fact straight before posting things that shows his complete ignorance of what happening.Also it's the same old same old bigotry "cut off there funding etc.It's getting old and tiring for those of us who get up and go to work every day...Get your fact straight.

  • Ralph Connors
    March 01, 2013 - 08:26

    “Our plane is chartered every day,” says Froude. “I don’t question anybody (on what they’ll use the plane for) …it’s none of my business.” I am willing to bet that Transport Canada would disagree with you on that. I bet they would think it was your business to ensure that illegal items are not transported with your plane. In fact it is your responsibility. So if they were dropping bags of cocaine you'd think that was ok too? Post-9/11 and you still have the stones to say that quote aloud? Wow.

  • GTE
    March 01, 2013 - 08:15

    None of his business ???? Amazing. I have been in a small plane and it's pretty easy to see what we are up to. If we have fishing poles, we are going fishing. If we have rifles, we are going hunting. I think the pilots have some explaining to do, and they should know the hunters. Let's see what govt will do about it.

  • Miner
    March 01, 2013 - 07:42

    I wonder how he will feel when he loses the airplane. Different story when you are on the other side I guess.

  • Bigland
    February 28, 2013 - 23:38

    Ignorance is no excuse for the law, Its common knowledge that hunting caribou is banned, if the caribou was cover up unrecognizable then well, but if not then the pilots should not of taken the caribou, simple as that. Caribou, drugs whats the difference, is partaking in illegal activity ..!! Give them the full brunt of the law, the surival of a species is at risk, should I say more .....!!

  • hopedale
    February 28, 2013 - 22:17

    its not right that the INNU of Labrador are hunting the caribou............ THEY WILL GET AWAY WITH IT AGAIN.......... JUST WATCH ONE OF THEM ARE GONNA CALL THIS A RACIEST COMMENT............ will guess what I think were all fed up about how a lot of INNU act like they own everything and they can always break the rules every day there is another story about the dam INNU doing something or getting away with something.................. ITS NOT FAIR

  • Deon Heath
    February 28, 2013 - 22:06

    Did the go get any of the evidence?

  • Robert
    February 28, 2013 - 21:41

    Oh! So if I loan my car to rob a bank I am not an accessory to a crime. I have no responsibility to ask why someone may need my car. And I really have to wonder how much it must have cost to acquire this caribou and if it was a cost effective way to get red meat! I guess we've come a long way from "the old fashioned" way of hunting. This is NOT subsistance harvesting; I'm sure mother earth must be thrilled!

  • Olivia
    February 28, 2013 - 21:36

    Proper shameful I calls it!!! Seems that the Innu can do whatever they want and get away with it, not all, but there are a few greedy ones that do whatever they want, pure greed it is, and not thinking of all of the aboriginal people, just themselves...then when it comes to the other Aboriginal People, we end up suffering, we follow the rules and have respect, unlike some others! I don't know what they are thinking they know and should understand there is a BAN in place, which means NO HUNTING OF THE CARIBOU!!!! I am just disgusted that some people feel that they can break the rules, when the rest of us follow them, and we are going to be the ones who suffer and our children and future generations, Like seriously get a grip, think of others instead of themselves!!! Like what happens really, do they just sit at the table and say "Hey lets go kill some caribou hey, because we are not allowed to do it, we are going to anyway?" Because we don't follow rules!!!!! Shameful!

  • phil lethbridge
    February 28, 2013 - 21:22

    I say charge the owners as well as the pilots who flew with the illegally killed caribou. Michelin knows ignorance of what his plane was doing is no excuse. Fire the crooked cop and throw him in jail and throw away the key

  • lindsey
    February 28, 2013 - 20:58

    Breaking the law is breaking the law, transporting caribou or drugs, it is not right.

  • Oral Burden
    February 28, 2013 - 20:46

    It amazes me that our own provincial INNU of Labrador who have taken caribou today after the announced hunting band have been the target of the Provincial Gov't yet this same Gov't have failed to take on the Quebec Innu as they come across our provincial border and slaughter caribou by the hundreds.Even the labrador wildlife officers have been slapped in the face by the prov gov't for doing their jobs as professional as they could but all to no avail as Quebec Innu still challenge Dunderdale to try and stop them.I believe in fairness but treat us all alike no matter what province your from.

  • Dee
    February 28, 2013 - 20:06

    guys if your plane was used for illegal activity then it has a right to be seized,the difference here is you will get it back because you are a RCMP.My car or truck would be seized pretty fast if someone was using it to hunt game,and I can sue the government all I want because I would,nt get my car back.

  • J
    February 28, 2013 - 19:09

    'Seized'