'Christmas miracle' as plane makes emergency landing at Fort McMurray airport

RCMP say a plane made an emergency landing in Fort McMurray Tuesday evening. The four people on board escaped without serious injuries.

Cessna 208 Caravan from Camrose, Alta., with 4 aboard has engine trouble, glides to just short of runway

Local business owner Mike Clark snapped this photo outside the Fort McMurray airport Wednesday. (Mike Clark/ Reliable Fleet & Auto)

A small plane with four people on board made an emergency landing short of the Fort McMurray airport Tuesday evening, Wood Buffalo RCMP said.

There were no serious injuries, RCMP said.

Wood Buffalo Emergency Management Branch said it received a call around 5.35 p.m. about a small aircraft having engine trouble.

Eight fire trucks and three ambulances rushed toward the small plane, unsure where it would land.

The plane, a privately operated Cessna 208 Caravan, had taken off from Camrose. Its destination was the Fort McMurray airport.

The pilot searched for a safe place to land, because he didn't believe the plane had enough power to make it to the airport runway, said Brad Granger, deputy chief of operations with Wood Buffalo Emergency Management Branch.

Four people escaped without serious injuries after a small plane crashed Tuesday evening near the Fort McMurray airport. (Mike Clark/Reliable Fleet & Auto)

"They initially looked at landing on the highway, but the highway was too busy," Granger said. "So they attempted to glide in."

The plane was approaching the airport from the south. It fell short of the runway by about half a football field, Granger said, landing on a small service road near the runway.

'Bumps and bruises'

Granger said the pilot and the three others on board walked away with bumps and bruises. All four refused to go to the hospital.

"It was a Christmas miracle, because the plane had basically run out of power," Granger said.

He said if the plane had come down any shorter of the highway it would have hit a power pole and a berm.

"God knows what would have happened if they had hit all those things," Granger said.

Fred Burow, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said there will not be a public report on the incident unless other pertinent information comes to light.