No one was killed, but several people were airlifted to hospital after a plane crashed just after takeoff from Fond Du Lac airport in northern Sasktachewan Wednesday night.
The West Wind Aviation flight was bound for Stony Rapids when it crashed less than a kilometre from the airstrip in Fond Du Lac around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Police and first responders quickly worked to get 22 passengers — including an infant — and three crew out of the ATR 42 turboprop plane, which can seat up to 50 passengers.
Investigators with the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) arrived on-scene Thursday morning to determine what caused the plane to go down.
West Wind Aviation said five people were sent to outside hospitals while the other passengers and crew members were receiving medical care in Stony Rapids or Fon du Lac. There is no word on the severity of the injuries.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers, crew, friends and families affected,” the company said.
Darryl McDonald said his 70-year-old mother, Ernestine, suffered a broken jaw and facial injuries when the plane went down with 25 people aboard about one kilometre from the airstrip.
“She could hardly speak. She’s still in shock,” McDonald said.
A picture of the crash site showed the damaged aircraft partly on its side in the trees, with a wing jutting up in the air at a 45-degree angle but there was no insight into what caused the crash.
Witness describes dark scene
Raymond Sanger and a friend went to the airport after hearing about the crash Wednesday night. When they arrived at the east side of the airport they saw two men running out of the bush.
“We went scrambling into the bush and looking for whatever we could find and about 10 minutes later we ran into the crash site,” Sanger said.
He said it was pretty dark and people were using phone flashlights to search the wreckage.
“There was three people; there was a doctor there and there was a woman from Stony, and there was a boy from here, he was the one that was the worst,” Sanger said.
He said it looked like some other people were pinned inside the plane.
Sanger said when he got home he was shaking, shocked by what happened.
Fond Du Lac is 800 kilometres north of Saskatoon near the Northwest Territories border.
Saskatchewan politicians were quick to tweet their support for injured passengers and thanks to the first responders.
Our thoughts go out to families of those who were injured in the plane crash near Fond du Lac; relieved to hear there were no fatalities.
— Brad Wall (@PremierBradWall) December 14, 2017
No lives lost in air crash at Fond du Lac last night. Big thanks to all 1st Responders including impressive community volunteers!
— Ralph Goodale (@RalphGoodale) December 14, 2017
—with files from CKOM News and Canadian Press