Float plane crash near Gander leaves passengers with minor injuries

Two people were treated for minor injuries following a float plane crash near Gander on Saturday. People at the scene say local cabin owners are to thank for their quick rescue efforts.
RCMP said the piper plane crashed around 5:40 p.m. on Saturday, near Joe Batt's Pond, 12 kilometres west of Gander. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Two people were treated for minor injuries following a float plane crash near Gander — but some at the scene say it could have been a different outcome if local cabin owners hadn't responded as quickly as they did. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the Piper plane crashed around 5:40 p.m. on Saturday, near Joe Batt's Pond, 12 kilometres west of Gander.

Larry Winsor and Terry Tiller were at Joe Batt's Pond when the float plane crashed. (Chris Ensing/CBC)
Larry Winsor said he immediately knew when his neighbour's plane crashed into the trees. 

"We heard the thump, we heard the bang," he said. 

RCMP, Gander Fire Rescue and the 103 Search and Rescue Squadron were sent to the scene.

When crews arrived, the two passengers had been removed from the plane and were waiting for an ambulance.

Emergency responders have credited the cabin owners for their quick thinking and impressive rescue efforts.

"Seven strong men there and they could lift the plane up, and they got the door open, and cut the seatbelt and they got him out of the plane because there was fuel running from the plane," said Winsor.

"So right then and there, it was a good effort. If they weren't there, it could have been a different scenario."

Winsor said he's not sure how the crash happened.

"They've done this hundreds of times. But just a freak accident that it happened, right?" he said.

Police said Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are assisting with the investigation.

With files from Chris Ensing.

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