Five survive plane crash in Northern Manitoba
Alexandra Paul, Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, November 23, 2008
RCMP say five people walked away uninjured from a plane crash just before it exploded into a fireball in northern Manitoba.
Investigators say the pilot of the medevac flight spotted flames after takeoff Saturday night and crash-landed the plane in the bush near the town of God’s Lake, 547 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
A mother, her toddler, a flight nurse, the pilot and the co-pilot were able to escape the plane just before it caught fire and was destroyed.
“All five people on board were OK,” said Maj. Don Paul, a spokesman with the Joint Rescue Coordination centre out of Trenton, Ont. “They evacuated the aircraft after the landing and had a fire going by the time the search and rescue personnel parachuted into the scene. They were picked up early (Sunday) morning.”
Paul said the flight was a medical evacuation, although he didn’t have details about the patient.
Constables at the God’s Lake Cree First Nation, next to the town of God’s Lake, were the first to spot the aircraft exploding, about 9:45 p.m. Saturday. The constables reported seeing a raging fireball shooting flames above the trees, a few kilometres north of the town.
God’s Lake RCMP confirmed there was a medevac plane en route to Thompson from God’s Lake Narrows and that the Beechcraft King Air twin engine hadn’t arrived, and was overdue. The King Air is used as an air ambulance because of its ability to take off and land on short runways in remote communities.
RCMP contacted the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre which dispatched a Hercules to look for wreckage from a possible plane crash.
In God’s Lake authorities assembled a ground search team, with the community’s chief and counsel and band constables joining RCMP.
At 2:50 a.m. local searchers found the five people from the plane, and its wreckage, 2.5 kilometres northeast of the town.
The people from the plane were taken to the local nursing station for examination, RCMP said.
The Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.