North

Northerners on edge after rash of plane crashes

People flying in the N.W.T. are on edge after a tragic plane crash killed two people Tuesday. In the past seven weeks, there have been three crashes and one controlled landing.

TSB says there are no common links between the accidents

People flying in the Northwest Territories are on edge after a tragic plane crash killed two people Tuesday.

The plane crashed near Lutselk’e, N.W.T., which is a fly-in community about 200 kilometres east of Yellowknife, N.W.T.  There are two survivors who are getting treatment at a hospital in Edmonton.

This is just the latest in a cluster of plane crashes in the North, where many fly to work. There have been three crashes and one controlled landing in just seven weeks. In total, 16 people have died as a result.

Peter McGill travels by plane between Hay River N.W.T. and Yellowknife every day for work. He says taking a plane in the North is like taking the bus in another city, since so many people rely on it in their daily lives. (CBC)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating all four accidents. The board says at this point there are no common links and no reason for people to stop flying in the North.

"I realize we have had several accidents fairly close together," said Wray Tsuji from the TSB. "It's not unusual in that earlier in the year, for instance, we had four or five accidents close together in Quebec, and prior to that there weren't that many accidents."

While the board digs for answers Peter McGill is keeping his mind deep in work. He travels every day from Hay River, N.W.T. to Yellowknife to work for Buffalo Airways.

"Taking the plane every day is like taking the bus in a large city."

A Boeing 737 plane crashed Aug. 20 near Resolute Bay, Nunavut. Only three of the 15 passengers survived. Since that crash, McGill says getting to work has never felt more different.

Nancy Corral works at a mining camp. She uses planes to get to work all the time, but says she is more nervous about flying now. (CBC)

"I been just kind of thinking about traveling every day," said McGill. "You got to put that out of your mind before you take off… hopefully over a period of time it will be okay to fly again. But I am thinking about it."

Nancy Corral works at a mining camp.

"I've got a positive attitude," she said. "Does it make you nervous in any kind of way? A little bit but you got to fight it because that's part of life working in a camp."

Flying is also a way of life for people who live in remote communities. Maureen Deneron lives in the small community of Trout Lake, N.W.T. She only heard about Tuesday’s crash the next day. She says she’s anxious to fly home.

Maureen Deneron lives in Trout Lake, N.W.T. She relies on flights to get her to and from larger city centres like Yellowknife. (CBC)

"I’m a bit shaky, because I have my daughter with me ,but that's the only way I can get home, so I'm hoping the weather will clear up this afternoon so I can fly all the way home today."

McGill says he hopes this most recent accident is the last for a long time.