January 27, 2017 1:26 pm
Updated: January 28, 2017 2:06 pm

Military plane crashes south of Moose Jaw, Sask.

WATCH ABOVE: A military training plane crashed in southern Saskatchewan today. The two pilots are alive but the extent of their injuries are not known at this time. Jules Knox reports from the scene.

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The Royal Canadian Air Force has confirmed that a military training plane crashed south of Moose Jaw, Sask. this morning.

Lt. Jennifer Halliwell, the 15 Wing Moose Jaw public affairs officer, said the crash happened about 50 kilometres southwest of Moose Jaw along Highway 363 on private property, just east of the Old Wives Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

Two pilots, a flying instructor and a student from the Royal Canadian Air Force base in Moose Jaw, were able to eject from the plane before the crash.

Col. Denis O’Reilly, also with 15 Wing, said the crash happened at 10:30 a.m. and the two pilots were on a routine training mission.

“We were alerted of the ejection quite quickly after it occurred and we launched a ground search party immediately,” O’Reilly said.

An aircraft flying overhead saw the crashed plane and two parachutes, O’Reilly said, and emergency responders were able to get to the pilots.

“Overall we lost an aircraft today but we saved two pilots, which I’m most grateful about,” O’Reilly said.

According to O’Reilly, the pilots executed the ejection properly.

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Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations for the Department of National Defence, said in an email statement said the two pilots are alive with non-life threatening injuries.

“At this time the precise circumstances leading up to the ejection are not known,” the statement said.

“The director of flight safety is involved and an investigation will be launched.”

O’Reilly said the director of flight safety team should be at the crash site by Saturday morning where they will gather evidence and try to determine the cause.

The plane involved in the crash was a CT156 Harvard II, which is an agile turboprop trainer that is the “aircraft of choice” for the early stages of the NATO Flying Training in Canada.

Mark Oddan, communications lead for STARS Air Ambulance in Saskatchewan said that STARS were dispatched at 10:43 a.m. CT.

“We did transport one patient to Regina General [Hospital], arrived there at 11:59,” Oddan said.

The other pilot was transported away from the scene by ground ambulance.

The RCAF will not be releasing the names of the pilots. Flight operations have been shut down on base.

“As a precaution, we always ground the aircraft immediately, just until we know, when the director of flight safety team is on the ground, what the initial indications might be,” O’Reilly said.

“Is it a systemic issue or is it isolated to that aircraft? Before we launch the rest of the aircraft, we’ll make sure that we know that.”

READ MORE: Military plane crashes south of 15 Wing Moose Jaw

The Moose Jaw Fire Department was called to respond to the crash at 10:38 a.m. and have since returned to quarters.

In January 2014, a similar incident happened, with a CT-156 Harvard II aircraft crashing about 16 kilometres south of the 15 Wing air force base during a routine training mission, forcing the student pilot and instructor on board to make a controlled ejection.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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