Passengers on First Air Flight 65-60 didn't know anything was wrong until the plane hit the ground near Resolute, Nunavut, one of the three survivors has told the RCMP.

Twelve people were killed when the Boeing 737-200 passenger plane crashed near the Resolute airport on Saturday. Only one child and two adults survived.  

Police have been able to talk to at least one survivor about the flight's final moments, says Supt. Howard Eaton of the Nunavut RCMP.   

"They knew they were going in on approach and everything looked normal," Eaton said. "They saw a couple of buildings when they were looking out. And then bang. There was no warning. The bells didn't ring. It just happened suddenly.

"There was no real warning from anybody that they were in trouble. I think it was unexpected."  


A man raises a flag in Resolute, Nunavut, where Prime Minister Harper visited this week and talked to residents about the loss of 12 lives in a plane crash Saturday. (Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press)

Eaton said the crash site is one of the most challenging Nunavut RCMP have ever dealt with.

Thousands of tiny pieces of debris from the plane and cargo are scattered over the site, leaving officers astonished that anyone lived through the crash.

The crash was the focus of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit  to Resolute on Tuesday during his annual Arctic tour.

He met with Nunavut leaders, community members and first responders to discuss the emergency response to the tragedy. He also dismissed as impractical a suggestion that full emergency response resources be established across the North.

Polar bears getting close

The plane crash has been a tough case for the Mounties, and wind and rain have made the work difficult, Eaton said. Officers have even had to frighten away polar bears.

The RCMP have been interviewing witnesses who were on the ground when the plane slammed into a hill.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is now taking over the crash scene to try to determine what went wrong.

In Ottawa, meanwhile, investigators at a lab have been retrieving information this week from the aircraft's flight recorders, which were flown to the capital for analysis on Sunday.