Resolute crash families meet Harper
Mounties documenting debris rely on Rangers to keep bears away
Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Thursday with families who lost loved ones in the crash of First Air Flight 6560 in Nunavut.
The meeting was private and took place in Yellowknife, where Harper spent the third day of his annual summer tour of northern communities.
He began the tour in Resolute, where a Boeing 737-200 slammed into a hill near the airport last Saturday, killing 12 of the 15 people on board.
The remains of all 12 who died have been examined at a temporary morgue in Resolute, but 11 have had to be flown to Ottawa for identification, the RCMP said Thursday.
Only one victim’s remains have been positively identified and returned to her family in Resolute, the RCMP said in a news release Thursday. A name was not released, but the victim is believed to be six year-old Cheyenne Eckalook.
Cheyenne was travelling to Resolute with her sister, Gabrielle Pelky, 7, after a summer visit to British Columbia. Gabrielle survived the crash with a broken leg and cuts to her face.
Two other passengers — Robin Wyllie, 48, and Nicole Williamson, 23 — also survived.
Rotting food attracts bears
RCMP say a grid search for debris is now underway around the crash site. Officers are documenting all debris, including the personal belongings of the passengers. These will be returned to families after the investigation.
Since the plane crashed, officers have relied on the Rangers, a reserve unit of the Canadian Forces, to frighten away polar bears drawn to the site by the smell of rotting food, the RCMP said.
The plane left Yellowknife with more than 2,000 kilograms of food, and what’s left of it has attracted at least two bears, RCMP Sgt. Paul Solomon said.
Among the victims of the crash were all four crew members, two men who had survived an earlier crash in the North, a Manitoba-based expert on the Arctic, and several East Coast residents.