Man injured in northern Saskatchewan plane crash dies in hospital

Arson Fern Jr., a passenger injured in the West Wind Aviation plane crash in northern Saskatchewan, has died in hospital. Gofundme / Supplied

A man injured in a plane crash in northern Saskatchewan has died in hospital.

The family of Arson Fern Jr. announced his death on a Gofundme page set up after the Dec. 13 crash near the remoted community of Fond du Lac.

“Arson Jr. is no longer with us,” said the post. “May he rest in peace.”

READ MORE: TSB eliminates engine failure as cause of plane crash in northern Saskatchewan

A photo of Fern lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by relatives, accompanied the post. It said the 19-year-old, who had cerebral palsy, suffered broken legs, a broken pelvis, internal bleeding and a collapsed lung.

Comments from family members on Facebook said he died on Christmas Day.

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The West Wind Aviation turboprop with 25 people on board went down shortly after taking off from the Fond du Lac airstrip. It left a path of wreckage almost a quarter of a kilometre long.

Everyone on board was rescued, but seven people were seriously injured.

The Transportation Safety Board continues to look for the cause of the crash, but has ruled out engine failure.

Transport Canada has also grounded the airline, citing deficiencies in the company’s operational control system.

West Wind said in a press release Wednesday that it was devastated to learn of Fern’s death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the passenger’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said the release, adding it is continuing to provide passengers and crew with trauma counselling.

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READ MORE: Transport Canada suspends airline’s licence after northern Saskatchewan plane crash

Fern’s parents wrote on the Gofundme page that he was barely able to walk because of his cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair to get around their home. They were taking him to a medical appointment in Prince Albert when the plane crashed.

“He was so happy to go on the plane … he was all smiles,” they wrote.

He was the last to be freed from the wreckage, they said, and spent three hours pinned in his chair against a wall of the plane. “They used two car jacks to lift up the wall and backrest at the same time.”

They said they had no idea how badly he was hurt until he was airlifted from a local health clinic to a hospital in Saskatoon.

“He was in surgery for 13 hours,” his parents said. “It was heartbreaking to see our baby like that.

“Who thought this would happen?”

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