A passenger emailed her kids to tell them goodbye before her plane crashed, reports the CBC's Natalie Clancy
A woman aboard a plane that crashed in Richmond, B.C., last week says her husband pulled her from the fiery wreck even though his back was broken in the crash.
One of the pilots died and the eight others on board were injured when the plane suddenly crashed onto a city street and caught fire.
In a telephone interview with CBC News, passenger Loralie Sobolik said the first sign of trouble was a leak she spotted as she was boarding the plane.
"It looked like a leak of some kind, like an oil leak or some kind of leak," she said.
"I pointed it out and said, 'Oh, that doesn't look good. What's that?' and my husband pointed it out to the pilot and ... the pilot said, 'Oh, that's no worry. That's just the A-pack,' or something that's leaking. And I don't know what he meant by that, but I thought maybe that is related to air conditioning or something. I don't know. But he just sort of said, 'No, that's not important.'"
But about 15 minutes into the chartered flight to Kelowna, B.C., the pilot informed passengers they were turning back to Vancouver because of an oil leak in the left engine.
He said it wasn't a big concern, said Sobolik, but "his hands were shaking uncontrollably and in his eyes ... I knew he was terrified."
She said the co-pilot grabbed a manual and she saw him looking up "low oil pressure."
"I was very calm. I said, 'No. I'm not going to die in a plane crash. I just know I'm not, so it's going to be just fine.'"
'Everyone was screaming'
The plane was a bit shaky, she said, but the runway could be seen in the distance.
"And then just all of a sudden we just veered, we totally missed it[the runway] and we were suddenly on a road, and you could see traffic lights," Sobolik said.
"And everyone was screaming and you just knew — we're crashing. I saw the ground rushing up to us, we kind of rolled to the side and we crashed."
Sobolik lost consciousness on impact.
"I woke up to — there was fire right in front of me. The pilot was on fire, it was all on fire right there. It was a heat, I could feel the heat. I could see the flames," she said.
"And my husband was screaming, 'I can't get out. I can't get out without my wife' ... And I was stuck and I couldn't get up."
The emergency door handle was broken, Sobolik said, so her husband, Cameron, had to pull her to the back of the plane.
"I just don't know how he did it. It was superhuman strength and he just yanked," she said.
"He had a broken back. He had completely shattered vertebrae and his spine was damaged ... but he wouldn't go. People were calling him to the back, and he said, 'Not without my wife' ... If he didn't get me, I would have perished for sure. I would have caught into flames."
Sobolik said Good Samaritans rushed to the rescue, grabbing fire extinguishers to douse the flames.
Sobolik, a mother of five who is still recovering in hospital, said she is just grateful to be alive.
"Today, I'm just feeling so happy to be alive. Both my husband and I are really going to walk away from this ... and we get a second chance at life. We're thrilled to be alive and we thank God for saving us and we feel new appreciation for every part of life," she said.
"I always knew he loved me but, yeah, he's probably going to be able to get away with everything now."
Cause of crash not clear
The cause of the crash has not been determined, but investigators say a caution light began to flicker in the cockpit halfway through the flight, persuading pilot Luc Fortin to turn the Kelowna-bound plane back to Vancouver.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the plane went down after getting clearance to return for landing.
In a recording of air-traffic control communications, Fortin sounds calm as the plane swings around and charts its reverse course. He tells a controller he doesn't need any emergency equipment or help.
Earlier Monday, Vancouver Coastal Health said six people remained in hospital following the crash.
Officials said one person was in intensive care, three others were in serious but stable condition and two people were in stable condition and may be released from the hospital later this week.
Two other passengers were discharged from the hospital last week.
Fortin, 44, was pulled from the fiery wreckage but died several hours later in hospital.
On Saturday, Fortin's family spoke to the media for the first time, remembering him as a fantastic husband who loved his 16-month-old daughter.
The family has set up a trust fund for Fortin's daughter, Katelyn, at the TD Canada Trust branch in North Vancouver.