At least 800-foot wreckage path left after northern Saskatchewan plane crash
A plane crash in northern Saskatchewan left a path of wreckage extending at least 800 feet, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
The West Wind Aviation plane, a twin-engine ATR-42 turboprop, went down Wednesday evening shortly after takeoff from Fond du Lac. Photos of the wreckage show a line of downed trees and the aircraft nearly split in half.
Investigators, who have been on scene since Thursday, have so far determined the aircraft descended into trees and terrain during the crash and stopped in an upright position, steeply tilted to the right. The left side of the plane appears to have sustained the worst damage, the TSB said in a news release. The plane’s fuselage, or main body, ruptured near the third row of seats.
Multiple people were injured — five with serious enough injuries to require air ambulance services — in the crash, but no one has died and all 22 passengers and three crew members were accounted for, according to RCMP.
Officers found the aircraft less than a kilometre from the airstrip. The plane was headed to Stony Rapids.
TSB investigators have so far recovered the plane’s flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and emergency locator transmitter. The government agency tweeted Thursday the two recorders will be sent to its lab in Ottawa for analysis.
Investigators will spend the coming days and weeks studying aircraft maintenance records; interviewing witnesses and the aircraft operator; examining pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records; gathering radar information and information about weather conditions; and continues their survey of the site, the TSB’s news release stated.
Twin-engine ATR-42 turboprop planes can accommodate 50 passengers, but most typically seat 42 people, along with two crew members. Manufactured in France and Italy, the aircraft is designed for short-haul flights.
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.
West Wind has grounded its other ATR aircraft following the crash, according to the TSB.
--- with files from The Canadian Press
Aircraft accident near Fond-du-Lac, SK: The aircraft was equipped with two data recorders, a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). They will be sent to our Lab in Ottawa for analysis.— TSB of Canada (@TSBCanada) December 14, 2017
Aircraft accident near Fond-du-Lac, SK: The aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Fond-du-Lac, SK (ZFD). The flight was on its way to Stony Rapids, SK (YSF)— TSB of Canada (@TSBCanada) December 14, 2017