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The death of a Sudbury pilot and two passengers hit hard among local aviation and legal circles Wednesday. Leo Arseneau, an accomplished family lawyer and member of the Sudbury Flying Club, perished along with his wife, Mary Lou, and his wife's caregiver after his Piper six-seater plane went down in the bush near the mouth of the French and Pickerel Rivers on Tuesday.
The three were bound for Winston-Salem, NC, but reported engine problems after leaving the Sudbury Airport and crashed while attempting to execute an emergency landing. News of the tragedy was showing on the faces of many lawyers at the Sudbury Courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
He was one of my golf buddies. Another veteran solicitor, Richard Pharand, described Arseneau as a doting husband and skilled attorney. He would go to the office and do work and spend all his other time with his wife.
He told me Pierre had been at the hospital when she was there and spent a lot of time at her bedside. Arseneau also represented the parents of Davinder Kochar, killed inin their quest to have retroactive child support paid by their daughter's husband, Harinder Kochar, for the couple's three children. As lawyers grieved a popular colleague and mentor, those who frequent local hangars and runways were sudbury feeling the loss.
Michael Rocha, chief flight instructor with the Central North Flying Club, said he was more of an acquaintance than a close friend but would often encounter Arseneau at the airport, especially montpellier the days when the Sudbury Flying Club -- of which Arseneau was a member -- was more active.
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Arseneau was a seasoned pilot, said Rocha, and used his plane mostly for long trips, as opposed to shorter leisure outings. The Piper Saratoga flown by Arseneau was a "higher performance" type of single-engine plane that is "deed more for long trips than sightseeing," said Rocha.
Anytime a plane goes down it sends a chill through the flying community, said Rocha, especially if someone is killed.
Aviators are "are a very safety-oriented group of people, very conscious of safety," said the flight instructor. But accidents still happen, and it's very unfortunate.
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