Mid-air collision kills 2 near Fort McMurray, Alta.
Float plane damaged in collision makes crash landing at Fort McMurray airport
Two people have been found dead in the wreckage of a small aircraft located in bush and muskeg 38 kilometres northeast of Fort McMurray, Alta., following a mid-air collision.
The pilot of the other plane in the collision ran safely from his own plane seconds after crash landing his damaged aircraft at the Fort McMurray airport Sunday night, an eyewitness said Monday.
Stephen Baker, a helicopter mechanic, watched as the Cessna float plane came in "faster than he needed to be."
Baker captured on video fire trucks racing toward the plane as it began its quick descent to the ground.
"Then I saw him touch down and hit the ground ... strike his propeller ... and then I saw him run away."
The pilot ran towards the fire truck and wasn't injured. He was the sole person on board the Cessna float plane.
"I mean, if he had touched down in a lake and hit a log, it's kind of a different story," Baker said. "In that situation, you'd think, 'What the hell were you doing?'
"But now, I look at it and I think, good job, good piloting, because he could have easily died in that situation," said Baker, who at the time had no idea the plane he'd captured on video had just been involved in a deadly mid-air crash.
RCMP were at the scene of the crash Monday morning and had not yet identified those found dead.
An employee with McMurray Aviation told CBC that one of their training aircraft was involved in a "tragic accident," but refused to confirm whether its plane was the one that crashed.
Paramedics were flown by helicopter to a cleared piece of land close to the crash scene and hiked into the bush, where they found the wings of the Cessna 172 detached from the fuselage and two people dead inside.
"The force of the impact caused the structural failure, likely, of the 172," said Paul Spring with Phoenix Heli-Flight, the helicopter company that landed at an oil lease site close to the crash site.
Officials with the Transportation Safety Board will investigate and were expected to be in the area Monday afternoon.
The plane that landed at the Fort McMurray airport had left the same airport earlier on Sunday. The path of the second plane was not immediately known.