Nfld. & Labrador

Blizzard-like conditions hamper rescue effort, after small plane crashes near Makkovik

Two people were en route from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Greenland when the small craft crashed.

The injured are being transported by snowmobile after air rescue grounded due to weather

The wind and snow is keeping search and rescue teams from landing at the crash site. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

A ground search and rescue team out of Makkovik has been able to reach two people stranded in blizzard like conditions after their small plane crashed into the side of a mountain about 74 kilometres southeast of Makkovik, on Labrador's coast Wednesday morning.

The pair is now being transported by snowmobile but the going is slow, according to a Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson.

"The weather and the terrain are making the going quite difficult," Maj. Mark Gough said. "And because the passengers are injured they have to take a bit more time."

Gough said the extent of the injuries are not known but characterized their conditions as "serious". 

This is where the crash is located near Makkovik. (Submitted by Mark Gough)

The Piper Malibu single-engine aircraft, which is registered in the United States, was about 200 kilometres from its starting point in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, en route to Greenland, on Wednesday when it crashed.

Once they reach Makkovik, the plan is to extract the injured by helicopter to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. When that will happen will depend on the weather conditions according to Gough.

It's extremely difficult weather conditions to be working in.- Maj. Mark Gough

Two people were aboard the small aircraft, Gough said. One is from the U.K. and the other is from Belgium.

Gough said contact has been made with the people who are stuck. He said one of them was conscious while the other one was unconscious. 

Two military aircraft, including a Cormorant helicopter, were in the area but Gough said blizzard-like conditions prevented rescue crews from accessing the crash site.

A Cormorant helicopter refuels on the Goose Bay runway as search and rescue crews attempt to reach the crash site near Makkovik. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"It's extremely difficult weather conditions to be working in," Gough said earlier Wednesday evening as air rescue attempted to extract the pair.

"The Hercules aircraft is circling above the crash site, they're not able to send the search and rescue technicians from the aircraft because of the gusting winds and visibility is so low."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador