Nfld. & Labrador

Gander airport closed after Cormorant helicopter crash

There were six crew members aboard the aircraft. Two of them are still in hospital.

6 crew members were taken to hospital, 2 are still there

Emergency crews respond to a Cormorant helicopter crash at 9 Wing Gander on Thursday. (David Newell/CBC)

A Cormorant helicopter has crashed during a training flight at the 9 Wing air force base in Gander. 

The Royal Canadian Air Force says a crew was conducting hovering manoeuvres at the Gander airport when the helicopter crashed around 3:40 p.m. Thursday, near the intersection of runways 13-31 and 03-21.

There were six crew members aboard the CH-149 aircraft, and all of them were taken to hospital.

The RCAF says two of the crew members are still in the hospital receiving treatment, while the other four have been released and are with their squadron members. 

Gander airport CEO Reg Wright says the airport is closed to operations, with an update coming at 10 a.m. NT Friday.

A Canadian Forces spokesperson says it's too early to speculate about what may have caused the crash and they are still waiting for more information from the RCAF.

Weather conditions have been favourable in the area, with mostly blue skies and light winds through the afternoon.

The tail of the helicopter appears to be missing, and the aircraft is lying on its side.

About 12 emergency vehicles were at the scene around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, including fire and rescue vehicles.

The RCAF says the Directorate of Flight Safety is investigating.

According to the RCAF website, the office "fosters the safe execution of Canadian Forces aerospace operations through independent investigation of matters concerning aerospace safety, active participation in the airworthiness program and leadership of the Canadian Forces flight safety program."

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