The pilot and his three passengers were not injured when this plane was forced to make an impromptu water landing Monday afternoon. (Emily Elias/CBC)

A float plane bound for Vancouver was forced to make an emergency water landing after losing its propeller mid-flight on Monday.

Local resident John Smith said he jumped in his boat and rushed out to help tow the plane and its passengers to safety as soon as he heard about the downed aircraft in Halfmoon Bay, a small community largely made up of summer cottages on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.

"Well the pontoons had several cuts," Smith told CBC News. "Even though the front sections were leaking, it was no hazard to the plane sinking."

The pilot and his three passengers were not injured during the Seair Beaver DHC-2's impromptu water landing yesterday around 1:40 p.m. PT. The plane had taken off in Powell River, B.C.

Together with another boat and the Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Smith helped tow the plane and its passengers to a nearby dock.

"The passengers stayed right on until we took the [plane] into the Secret Cove government dock and tied it up," he said.

halfmoon bay, b.c.

Smith said the pilot later hopped on another Seair plane back to Richmond, B.C., while the three passengers were put in a taxi for a ferry ride to their destination.

Terry Hiebert, operations manager at Seair, said the pilot had 25 years of flying experience.

"The pilot was pretty shook up, but he did a pretty good job landing it and no injuries that we know of. Everybody's fine," he said, adding that he's never heard of a propeller coming off a Beaver aircraft and does not believe it was a problem with maintenance.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is now investigating why the propeller malfunctioned.

The plane will be towed back to Vancouver tonight.


The float plane that lost its propeller is photographed as it is being towed in Halfmoon Bay. (Judy Flynn)