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

Slightly cooler weather in Kelowna over long weekend

Chance of flurries on Saturday after bright and sunny week

4 inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre granted early release due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

COVID-19: No more international flights at Kelowna International Airport

All international flights at YLW have been suspended, airport to operate just nine flights a day

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in West Kelowna amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

WATCH: Wine bottle turret turns heads in Kelowna neighbourhood

The turret has been in the area since 1993

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Hitchcock classic a parable for our times

‘You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat’

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

UPDATE: Algae bloom in Shuswap Lake determined to be non-toxic

Interior Health maintains people should not drink untreated water

Most Read