RCMP say a plane with 25 people on board has crashed in northern Saskatchewan shortly after taking off around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Fond du Lac airport. First responders work the crash scene near the Fond du Lac airport in a Wednesday, December 13, 2017, image posted to social media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook, Raymond Sanger.

Plane crashes in Saskatchewan injuring 25

Investigators to probe Saskatchewan plane crash that injured several passengers

Investigators will begin combing through the wreckage of a passenger plane to find clues as to why it crashed soon after taking off in northern Saskatchewan.

Officials with the Transportation Safety Board were due to arrive in the remote community of Fond du Lac sometime Thursday to begin their probe of the West Wind Aviation ATR-42 turboprop that went down Wednesday at about 6:15 p.m., injuring several people on board.

Police and first responders quickly worked to get the 22 passengers — including an infant — and three crew out of the plane, which can seat up to 50 passengers.

“The extent of injuries is unknown, other than there were five people that required medevac attention, but they were non-life-threatening injuries,” said Rick Philipenko, vice-president and chief financial officer of the Saskatoon-based airline.

Related: Pilot survives plane crash in Glacier National Park

“We train for incidents like this. First and foremost is the well-being of the passengers and crew. With all the hectic activity in this kind of incident it’s really important to make sure that they’re front and centre and that they’re the focus.”

A picture of the crash site shows 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 yet no insight into what caused the crash.

Philipenko said the area is under the control of authorities and the TSB.

“We’re an observer when we’re there on site. Our role primarily is to make sure the passengers and crew are looked after,” he said

Darryl McDonald said his 70-year-old mother, Ernestine, suffered a broken jaw and facial injuries when the plane went down about a kilometre from the airstrip. His sister also suffered injuries to her leg.

The twin-engine ATR-42 turboprop can accommodate 50 passengers, but most typically seats 42 people along with two crew. Manufactured in France and Italy, the aircraft is designed for short-haul flights.

ATR, the manufacturer, says more than 1,500 aircraft have been sold, and it has over 200 operators in more than 100 countries, adding that, “every eight seconds, an ATR turboprop takes off or lands somewhere around the world.”

Related: Search area for missing plane downsized

West Wind Aviation, formed in 1983, operates from bases in Saskatoon, La Ronge and Stony Rapids, as well as in northern Saskatchewan. The company is First Nations and employee-owned, with Athabasca Basin Development the majority shareholder.

“Our safety record is exemplary and our customer service exceptional,” the company states on its website. “Fly with West Wind and let us take care for you.”

The airline acquired Transwest Air in 2016 for an undisclosed amount, adding several aircraft to a fleet that included five ATR-42-300s, Twin Otters and Beech planes at the time, and making it one of the province’s largest commercial aviation groups.

— with files from CKRM

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The plane crash at the top of the mountain

50 years ago, a small plane was lost within sight of the Cranbrook airport. What went wrong?

Confirmed COVID-19 case at J.A. Laird School in Invermere

The S.D.6 Superintendent has notified families

Broken water main reduces traffic flow on 24th Avenue North in Cranbrook

Traffic will be reduced to single-lane, closed off completely until repairs are done

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

Most Read