This photo was taken June 24, 1953, one day after Brandon pilot Len Fisher crashed while spraying a crop near Neepawa. The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba has rejected Fisher’s claim for expenses he incurred during an eight-month stay in hospital following the crash, which he filed in June. (CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN)
Len Fisher’s nearly 60-year-old insurance claim just isn’t going to fly.
Fisher, who was hurt after the light aircraft he was using to spray fields near Neepawa crashed in 1953, filed a claim to the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba just last month for his hospital bills during the eight months of recovery he spent in hospital.
"I had a meeting with the board (on July 4) and it won’t go through, and after 60 years I’ve more or less abandoned any more thought about it," Fisher said. "I’m not surprised and I’m not really even disappointed. I figured it was a last hope."
One of the major sticking points was that in 1953 it wasn’t mandatory for pilots to carry insurance. Fisher, who was working for Brandon Air Services when he was contracted to spray the field near Neepawa, had no voluntary insurance.
"Unfortunately he had no coverage at the time of the accident," WCB spokesman Warren Preece said, adding that a great deal of investigating was done to ensure proper protocol was followed in such an unusual claim.
"It was a very challenging claim based on how long ago the accident occurred," Preece said.
While WCB is used to dealing with claims that are decades old, Preece said this one was different because of the type of claim it was.
"It’s not that old claims are unique, but it is irregular for traumatic accidents," Preece said. "We don’t see many traumatic injuries claimed from such a long time ago like a plane crash would be, but it isn’t unusual in occupational disease claims."
As for Fisher, he was happy with how the claim, which gathered national attention and thrust him into the spotlight, was handled.
"I had no criticism of WCB at all. They really went out of their way to check back 60 years ago and in some cases the people they needed to talk to were expired and in other cases they weren’t around here anymore," Fisher said.
"And I’ve ran into quite a few people that said they saw me on the TV or in the paper," he added.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 6, 2012