Nova Scotia

Air Canada AC624 crash: How acts of kindness helped passengers

In the minutes and hours after AC624 crashed at the Halifax airport, people in the city rallied to do everything they could to support those who were on the plane.

From carrying a woman off the plane to making sure everyone had a bed, passengers appreciated the help

Passengers huddled around eachother to stay warm, while emergency responders took their jackets off to help the most in need. (Denis Lavoie)

In the minutes and hours after AC624 crashed at the Halifax airport, people in the city rallied to do everything they could to support those who were on the plane. Here's just some of the gestures — both big and small — that passengers say made a big difference.

Helping others off the plane

Despite the circumstances, passengers say everyone remained calm after the plane crashed. The Air Canada crew guided everyone to the emergency exits.

Mike Magnus was one of the first off, but instead of getting away from the plane, he stayed and helped others as they came down the slide.

Another man is being credited with carrying an 80-year-old woman off the plane.

Sharing the warmth

Firefighters and police officers arrived on the runway to find passengers in shorts and flip flops standing in the cold. The emergency workers offered their coats, while those most in need sat inside the vehicles until buses arrived to take them into the hangar.

"Police were wonderful, the people that were trying to help were absolutely wonderful. One wonderful cop gave me his coat," said Lianne Clark.

Other passengers with coats huddled around those who were cold while they waited.

Bartenders become maids

At the Alt Hotel, General Manager Mark Schaay just happened to be at work. He called in extra staff in at 2 a.m. to shovel all the snow that was piling up in the storm so the passengers didn't have to walk through snowbanks.

Schaay wanted to make sure every passenger who wanted a room would have one, so he enlisted all the staff, from the bartenders to the managers, to clean 31 rooms as fast as possible.

"Even the customers offered to help clean," he said. While he didn't have to take them up on their offer, he said it was amazing they were eager to volunteer.

Schaay, who was trying to coordinate everything and make sure the passengers weren't waiting long, ran upstairs and did some of the vacuuming.

A place to recharge

Staff at the hotel searched through lost and found to find clothes for freezing passengers, who only had the clothes on their backs.

They also found phone chargers so some could make sure they had enough power to reach their families and tell them they were OK.

They gave them chairs so they could sit beside the electrical plugs in the hallway.


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