Plane with 25 people crashes in Canada, no deaths reported

A photo of the scene uploaded to social media.
A photo of the scene uploaded to social media.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/RAYMOND SANGER

MONTREAL (REUTERS) - A small aeroplane carrying 22 passengers and three crew members crashed after it took off in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the police said.

A number of people suffered injuries, with some serious enough to require air ambulance services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

The West Wind Aviation ATR-42 went down near the Fond-du-Lac airport at around 6.15pm local time, RCMP said.

ATR, a joint venture between Airbus and Italian company Leonardo, is the world's largest maker of regional turboprop planes.

There was no explosion or fire when the turboprop plane crashed, police said.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is looking into the cause of the accident.

Passenger Willie John Laurent told Canada's CBC News that one of the last things he remembered before Wednesday night's crash (Dec 13) was the plane turning sideways in the air and the people aboard screaming. 

Laurent was travelling with his wife, Helen Laurent, and daughter when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport in the remote fly-in community of about 900. 

"Everyone was trapped on my side (of the plane)," Laurent said.

"I crawled over the seat, because the aisle was all crushed. There was no aisle because it was all bent together."

The plane was scheduled to travel nearly 80km to Stony Rapids.  RCMP members found the wreckage less than a kilometre from the airstrip. There were no fatalities, but several people were injured.

Willie John Laurent told CBC he is in pain on one side of his body, from his shoulder down, but his daughter is in worse shape after sustaining some serious injuries and a bloody face.

Helen Laurent said she initially thought the plane was going through some bad turbulence but realised it was much worse when the people started screaming, she told CBC. 

"To tell you the truth, I don't know what happened. It was just like a dream," she said. 

Her husband said that because there was no fire, there was initially some confusion as to where the plane had crashed.

Community member Raymond Sanger told CBC that after learning about the crash, he rushed to the scene to help. He found the plane by following the passengers' screams.

Relative Diane McDonald, whose mother Ernestine McDonald and sister Brenda McDonald were on the plane, told CBC from the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon on Thursday morning (Dec 14) that, "Everybody's traumatised."

McDonald said her mother was doing well and her sister was now in Stony Rapids, where the plane had been headed.

When she received the call about the crash, McDonald said she first thought about the people on the plane and their families. 

"It doesn't make it easy for us because we just lost our father two months ago," McDonald said.

"With this, it's just so heartbreaking, but I'm so thankful that everybody got out safely."