Cabin door opens during Wasaya Airways flight
Passengers "de-planed without injuries," says Transportation Safety Board
Passengers aboard a Wasaya Airways flight underwent a "very traumatic" experience on Thursday, as the door of the plane came open shortly after takeoff.
The aircraft, a Beechcraft 1900 twin-engine turboprop, had just taken off from Sachigo Lake First Nation when the cabin door opened "about six inches or so," according to Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Peter Hildebrand.
"The crew responded by … returning the aircraft to the Sachigo airport," said Hildebrand.
"During the approach the door opened further, and on landing the door opened completely and the door swung down and … hit the runway."
Sachigo Lake Chief Alvin Beardy said the experience was "very traumatic" for the approximately 18 passengers on board, as well as for people watching from the ground.
"They watched, and they knew there was something wrong with the aircraft because it was making a real high-pitched sound," said Beardy.
"So they thought, 'Something tragic's gonna happen.'"
Beardy said witnesses "hoped and prayed" that the plane would land safely, and "breathed a sigh of relief" when it did.
After the plane landed, passengers "de-planed without injuries," according to Hildebrand.
Beardy said the airline provided no explanation for what happened to the passengers.
"There was no briefing from the pilot [on] what had just transpired. They just opened the door to leave," he said. "That was it."
Hildebrand said the TSB is aware of similar incidents involving the same aircraft.
"We understand there have been a few occurrences over many number of years," he said.
"We don't really have details on the other occurrences. We don't understand that anybody was injured during any of these events."
Hildebrand said the TSB has no plans to send an investigator to Sachigo Lake, but it will stay in contact with Wasaya while the company investigates.
Attempts to reach Wasaya Airways on Sunday were not successful.