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Close call for air ambulance

March 29, 2011, Rouyn-Noranda, Que. - The federal transportation safety board is investigating why a Quebec air ambulance’s landing gear failed to deploy during a March 26 flight.


March 29, 2011
Carey Fredericks

Three passengers, two patients and a nurse,  and two crew members, en route from Kuujjuaraapik to Montreal, had a scare when their Challenger CL-601 air ambulance had to make an emergency landing at the airport in Rouyn-Noranda with faulty landing gear.

As the Challenger approached Rouyn-Noranda just after 1:00 p.m., the pilot notified the airport tower that the front landing gear wouldn’t deploy.

The plane circled around for almost 90 minutes burning off fuel before air controllers triggered the code red needed for an emergency landing,  said Steve Bergeron, an airport manager.

A code red signals emergency personnel to the scene ahead of the landing.

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The front wheel finally deployed during the forced landing, which took place just before 3:00 p.m..

No one was in injured in the landing and there was no reported damage to the aircraft, said a March 27 news release from the Quebec treasury board, which oversees the government’s air ambulance service.

A second aircraft was dispatched to Rouyn-Noranda on the afternoon of March 27 to transfer the patients who had been en route to a Montreal hospital.

The provincial air ambulance service continues to service the region, the news release said, while transportation safety board will investigate the aircraft.

Transport Canada will also conduct an investigation to verify that officials complied with federal regulations at the time of the incident.