Resolute begins to heal one year after deadly crash
Memorial will unveil plaque with names of both victims and survivors
The people in Resolute, Nunavut, will try to put the past behind them — it’s been one year since First Air Flight 6560 crashed near the community.
Twelve people in total died, including a child and several people not from the region. Three were from New Brunswick, one man was from Newfoundland, as well as an Alberta man and a Manitoba man.
Now, in the tiny hamlet where the wounds once ran deep, the community is beginning to heal.
About 100 people attended a ceremony near the crash site Monday morning. A plaque was unveiled to commemorate those who passed away, as well as to remember the three survivors.
Anna Akeeagok travelled to Resolute from Grise Fiord, Nunavut, to be with friends at the memorial.
"A lot of emotion. People feel that, after this memorial service, it went so well that it's going to be a new path, a new beginning for everyone, I feel," she said.
Aleeasuk Idlout remembers the day of the crash clearly; her two granddaughters were on the plane.
"On the side of the hill the plane had crashed and it was scattered all over," she said.
Gabrielle Pelky, 7, survived the crash, but her younger sister Cheyenne Eckalook, 6, died.
"I received another message that my older granddaughter was okay. And at that time they told us they had brought all the survivors down," said Idlout.
With the support the community, Idlout and her family have been able to turn their heartache into tribute. They will unveil a plaque to honour both the victims and survivors of the flight.
"We hope to get everyone together — all the people who didn't survive. Being remembered, that they are not forgotten, and our little granddaughter. And remember we have to keep going, that we can't just stop just because something like that happened," she said.
Today's memorial will take place on the hill just above the crash site at 11:30 a.m. local time.
Memorials held in Yellowknife and Kujjuaq, Que.
Hundreds of kilometres away, First Air marked the anniversary with a private memorial service in Yellowknife.
The company has about 200 employees based in the N.W.T. capital. Employees were joined by family and friends to remember the four crew members and eight passengers who died in the crash. They thought of the three passengers who survived.
First Air president Kris Dolinki said marking the anniversary is part of the grieving process.
"Our company, our employees and our communities were deeply affected by the tragedy on that day. We will never forget the events of the day, and the memory of the passengers and the crew lost will be in our hearts forever. We're thinking of the survivors and we're grateful for their health. We've been impressed by the strength, dedication and professionalism by members of the First Air family in the face of these most challenging of circumstances — and the outpouring of strength and support from the communities and people we serve," he said.
Dolinki did not want to talk about whether First Air has made any changes since last summer's tragedy. He said this is a time for remembering.
A memorial was also held in Kuujjuaq, in northern Quebec, and flags were flown at half-mast. Makivik Corporation, which owns First Air, is based in the Nunavik community.
The airline asked its employees across the North to observe a moment of silence to honour the victims.