2 military pilots eject safely before crash at 15 Wing Moose Jaw

A military training aircraft has crashed south of 15 Wing Moose Jaw. Two pilots on board safely ejected before the crash.

Pilots were able to walk away after touching down

This is one of the runways at 15 Wing Moose Jaw. The Harvard trainer crashed about 5.5 km south of the airfield. (Sabeen Ahmad/CBC)

A military training aircraft crashed about 1:50 p.m. CST Friday, about 5.5 kilometres south of the airfield at 15 Wing Moose Jaw.

The two pilots ejected safely. Their names were not released, but they were both Canadian Forces members. Both of them walked away after touching down with parachutes and were later evaluated by medical staff.

You can buy more planes, but you can't buy more people.- CFB Moose Jaw spokesman Capt. Thomas Edelson

They were flying a CT-156 Harvard II aircraft, a plane used for training.

Capt. Thomas Edelson, from CFB Moose Jaw, told CBC News that one of the pilots determined it was not safe to land and that a "controlled ejection" was made.

"This is actually a very good outcome," Edelson said. "Both people got out of the plane. You can buy more planes, but you can't buy more people."

Edelson said the pilot had enough time, prior to ejecting, to set the plane's controls to ensure it crashed without causing problems on the ground.

The plane that crashed was a CT-156 Harvard II trainer. (Courtesy: Canadian Forces)

"When you have time to make a controlled ejection, you point the plane in a safe, uninhabited direction," he said. "And the plane flew for a little bit longer before impacting in an empty field."

He said emergency crews on the ground, which had been alerted prior to the crash, picked up the pilots very shortly after they touched down.

The site of the plane's crash was cordoned off as part of the investigation.

Issue with landing gear

Base commander Col. Paul Goddard told reporters Friday that the value of the plane is in the range of $8 million to $10 million.

He said the student pilot had taken about 10 lessons and the instructor had been in that role for about a year.

Goddard said that prior to the crash, an issue was identified relating to the plane's landing gear. Another aircraft was sent up to have a look, and after about 45 minutes, it was decided the two would eject.

The investigation will focus on what the problem was with the landing gear, Goddard said.

Further training flights at the base have been put on hold for the time being.