Thunder Bay

Crash of twin-engine plane at Thunder Bay airport leaves 1 dead

A twin-engine airplane crashed just after 9 p.m. ET Monday at Thunder Bay's airport in northwestern Ontario, leaving one person dead.

TSB investigating after plane crashed following day of flying for Ontario ministry

A number of flights into the Thunder Bay, Ont., airport from Toronto and Sioux Lookout were either cancelled or diverted as a result of the airport closure due to the small-plane crash Monday evening. (Michael Fox/Twitter)

A twin-engine airplane crashed Monday evening at Thunder Bay's airport in northwestern Ontario, leaving one person dead.

In a written statement, airport president and chief executive officer Ed Schmidtke confirmed a twin-engine airplane crashed just after 9 p.m. ET and there was one fatality.

The name of the individual hasn't been released.

Schmidtke said the airport's operations specialists, along with Thunder Bay police, firefighters and paramedics,  responded to the incident.

The scene is being held for a Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation, he added.

Plane had finished day of work for ministry

TSB spokesperson Chris Krepski said Tuesday the crash occurred shortly after the plane — a Rockwell Commander 690 that was registered to MAG Aerospace — departed the Thunder Bay airport, heading for Dryden.

"Shortly after takeoff, the pilot ... requested to return to the airport, and was returning to land on runway 07 at Thunder Bay," Krepski said. "The aircraft lost control and struck the runway surface, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada deployed a team of investigators this morning to gather information and assess the occurrence."

MAG Aerospace is based in Dryden and provides a range of specialized aerial services, including fire management, airborne imagery and air charters, according to its website.

The plane's wreckage was still sat on a runway at Thunder Bay International Airport on Tuesday morning. The scene was being held for Transportation Safety Board investigators to arrive. (Logan Turner/CBC)

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry said MAG Aerospace is one of the ministry's long-term contract aircraft providers.

At the time of the crash, the plane was travelling to Dryden for routine maintenance after a completing a day of flying for the ministry. Further details were not provided.

A staff member with MAG Aerospace indicated the company will also likely issue a statement, but the timing is unclear.

Number of flights affected

A number of flights into the airport from Toronto and Sioux Lookout were either cancelled or diverted as a result of the airport closure on Monday night.

A Facebook post from Wasaya Airways said it had cancelled one flight from Sioux Lookout on Monday night, resulting in 37 passengers stranded in the northern town. At least two Air Canada flights from Toronto that were scheduled to land in Thunder Bay were rerouted after takeoff.

Just before nightfall, social media were filled with images showing a line of flames streaked across the runway with heavy smoke rising into the sky.

Krepski said two TSB investigators coming to Thunder Bay from Winnipeg are expected to be on the scene by early Tuesday evening.

"When they get there, they're going to examine the accident site, examine the aircraft wreckage, identify components from the aircraft for further analysis at the TSB engineering lab in Ottawa," Krepski said. "They're also going to interview witnesses and gather information from air traffic control regarding communications and radar information, information about the weather, information about the aircraft's maintenance records, pilot's training records.

"It's really about gathering as much information as we can about from the site and from other sources to begin our investigation."

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