Two survivors in Bearskin Airlines crash that killed 5 in northwest Ontario
In this Google map the community of Red Lake, Ont., is noted in red. Police say a plane crashed near Red Lake on Nov. 10, 2013.
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, November 11, 2013 6:01AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 11, 2013 1:08PM EST
RED LAKE, Ont. -- A man who survived a plane crash that killed five others in northwestern Ontario managed to pull a woman to safety before flames engulfed the aircraft, provincial police said.
The Bearskin Airlines plane went down just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday on approach to the Red Lake airport, about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ontario Provincial Police said.
The twin-engine turboprop burst into flames when it hit the ground, and only two people survived, police said.
The two pilots -- a 25-year-old from Mississauga, west of Toronto, and a 34-year-old from Winnipeg -- were among those killed, police said.
Three passengers -- a 53-year-old woman, a 53-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman, all from Red Lake -- were also killed, but police did not release their names.
The survivors were identified as a 29-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, both from Winnipeg.
"The one male was actually the one that called us to report the crash," said Sgt. Rob McDonough at the provincial police communications centre in Thunder Bay.
"He was able to pull the woman out of the wreckage prior to it becoming fully engulfed in flames."
The two were taken by ambulance to hospital where McDonough said they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He noted the man was able to walk to the ambulance, while the woman appeared to have suffered a back injury.
The plane had taken off from Sioux Lookout, Ont., on a flight to Red Lake, 270 kilometres north of Kenora, and about 100 kilometres east of the Manitoba boundary.
During the crash McDonough said the 19-seat aircraft knocked down some hydro lines.
"The plane was totally destroyed by the flames," he said. "Upon impact it burst into flames and then set bush around it on fire as well."
A local fire crew quickly doused the flames in both the plane and the woods, he added.
Provincial police issued a release early Monday, saying the names of the deceased would be released after their next of kin were notified.
There's no word yet on the cause of the crash, but McDonough said Transportation Safety Board investigators from Winnipeg were expected to arrive at the site Monday afternoon.
Once they arrive at the site, investigators will examine "all aspects of the aircraft," including the structure, controls, engines, propeller and landing gear, to see if "any of it could be related to the accident that happened," said TSB spokesman Peter Hildebrand.
There were light clouds and moderate winds out of the northwest around the time of the crash, as well as some snow showers, "but not anything severe in terms of this time of year," he said.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt expressed her condolences on Twitter.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the tragic air accident near Red Lake last evening. Thank you to first responders," she wrote.
Bearskin Airlines is based in Sioux Lookout and has operated since 1963, employing 300 people in Ontario and Manitoba.
Its fleet of 16 Metro Fairchild planes serve 18 destinations in the two provinces.
In May, 1995 a Bearskin aircraft collided with a Piper Navajo near the Sioux Lookout airport, killing all eight people on board the two planes.