4 dead after float plane crashes on small island north of Vancouver Island
Four people are dead after a float plane crashed on a small island north of Vancouver Island Friday.
The Transportation Safety Board said they are aware of the crash, which involved a Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft.
The plane went down just after 11 a.m. Pacific time on Addenbroke Island, which sits roughly 100 kilometres north of Port Hardy, according to the Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria.
The JRCC confirmed four people died.
Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) said five other passengers were aboard the charter aircraft, which was heading to Calvert Island at the time.
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Capt. Jenn Jackson with the Royal Canadian Air Force would not say where the plane was heading from, citing the sensitive nature of the case.
Jackson said rescue crews longlined from Air Force helicopters to hoist the survivors for transfer to hospital.
“No challenges have been reported,” she said. “I know that we had five search and rescue technicians jump in to assist the casualties on the ground and assess the rescue scene.”
Because of the remote area of the crash, no pictures are yet available from the scene.
B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) said two of the patients are in critical condition, while the other three are in serious but stable condition.
All five patients have been taken to hospital in Port Hardy by Canadian Coast Guard crews, BCEHS confirmed, where they landed around 7:30 p.m. and have been assessed.
The two patients in critical condition are being flown to hospital in Vancouver.
Ground crews and two air ambulance units responded to the scene. A third air ambulance crew travelled to Port Hardy from Vancouver.
In a statement to Global News, Richmond-based Seair Seaplanes confirmed the Cessna 208 belongs to the company and have suspended all flights as they work with authorities.
“Our thoughts are with those involved in the crash and their loved ones and are devastated by this fatal accident,” the statement reads.
B.C. Premier John Horgan also posted his condolences “with those affected by this tragic accident” on social media.
Canadian Coast Guard vessels and helicopters remain on scene
BC Ferries confirmed one of their vessels, the Northern Sea Wolf, was enroute from Port Hardy to Bella Coola with passengers on board when it was called to provide assistance.
Spokesperson Deborah Marshall confirmed no patients have been boarded onto the vessel, but the passengers remain on board.
She added the vessel’s arrival in Bella Coola was originally scheduled for around 5 p.m. Pacific time, but will likely be delayed until at least 10 p.m.
The Northern Sea Wolf was only introduced to service for the 10-hour route last month.
The JRCC said the investigation into the crash has now been handed over to the B.C. RCMP
RCMP said officers from the closest detachment in Bella Bella responded to the scene, making a 3.5-kilometre journey by boat.
The investigation is still in its early stages, police said, and it’s too soon to speculate on what caused the crash.
Global News has reached out to RCMP for further comment.
Weather station readings from the lighthouse station on Addenbroke Island, which is not inhabited, showed there was heavy cloud cover and light rain at the time of the crash.
Jackson said she couldn’t say whether the weather played a factor in the crash.
—With files from Julia Foy
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