Wings Magazine

Crash in N.W.T. kills claims two

Oct. 5, 2011, Yellowknife, N.W.T. - Two people died when an Air Tindi passenger plane crashed east of Yellowknife Tuesday afternoon, while two survivors were taken to hospital in undisclosed condition.

October 5, 2011  By CBC News

A Twin Otter medevac flight carrying the two survivors arrived in Yellowknife at about 6:30 p.m. MT Tuesday, officials confirmed. Both people have since been transferred to Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife.

Yellowknife-based Air Tindi has not released any names, but did confirm there were four people on the Cessna 208B aircraft, including the pilot. The crash happened near the fly-in community of Lutselk'e, N.W.T., about 200 kilometres from Yellowknife.

Lutselk'e residents Sheldon Catholique and Bernice Marlowe were comfirmed by members of the community and by family members to be the surviving passengers.

George Marlowe told CBC News he is worried and concerned about his daughter.


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will send two investigators to the crash site from its Edmonton office on Wednesday.

"What we will need to do there at this very early stage is to gather as much information as possible from the scene of the accident, as well as from other sources such as the company," says spokesman Chris Krepski.

Krepski said the board will look at air traffic control records, communications, radar and the weather at the time of the crash. They will also work with Air Tindi to get information about the aircraft and pilot.

Air Tindi said the scheduled flight left Yellowknife at 11:03 a.m. MT and was scheduled to arrive in Lutselk'e at 11:45 a.m when it crashed prior to arrival in the community.

Search and rescue officials located the aircraft 25 kilometres from Lutselk'e.

A Twin Otter carrying search and rescue workers and people from Lutselk'e was the first to land near the crash site. CFB Trenton said a C-130 airplane from Winnipeg also attended the crash site, along with a helicopter from Great Slave Helicopters.

"We’ve just recently heard that at least one person from the community … we don’t know how badly she was injured but, you know, she's in relatively good shape," says Lutselk'e band manager Ray Griffith. "Not life-threatening, to put it that way."

He said he still doesn't know many details about the second survivor's condition.

"It's very stressful and people are coping fine … but, I mean, it's certainly very difficult for the community," said Griffith.

He said he'd heard the plane crashed near Utsingi Point, in the East Arm region of Great Slave Lake.

3rd northern crash in 2 months

This was the second air disaster to affect Yellowknife's tight-knit aviation community in less than two weeks.

On Sept. 22, two pilots were killed when a Twin Otter float plane owned by Arctic Sunwest clipped a power line and crashed in between two buildings. Nine people were on board, and two of them were injured so severely they had to be transported to Edmonton for treatment.

On Aug. 20, a First Air Boeing 737 slammed into a hill outside Resolute Bay in Nunavut. Twelve people were killed and three survived. In an exclusive interview, survivor Nicole Williamson told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge that the plane seemed to break apart as it was preparing to land.

The TSB is still investigating both those crashes.


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