RCMP say a plane with 25 people on board has crashed in northern Saskatchewan shortly after taking off around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Fond du Lac airport. First responders work the crash scene near the Fond du Lac airport in a Wednesday, December 13, 2017, image posted to social media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook, Raymond Sanger.

Plane crashes in Saskatchewan injuring 25

Investigators to probe Saskatchewan plane crash that injured several passengers

Investigators will begin combing through the wreckage of a passenger plane to find clues as to why it crashed soon after taking off in northern Saskatchewan.

Officials with the Transportation Safety Board were due to arrive in the remote community of Fond du Lac sometime Thursday to begin their probe of the West Wind Aviation ATR-42 turboprop that went down Wednesday at about 6:15 p.m., injuring several people on board.

Police and first responders quickly worked to get the 22 passengers — including an infant — and three crew out of the plane, which can seat up to 50 passengers.

“The extent of injuries is unknown, other than there were five people that required medevac attention, but they were non-life-threatening injuries,” said Rick Philipenko, vice-president and chief financial officer of the Saskatoon-based airline.

Related: Pilot survives plane crash in Glacier National Park

“We train for incidents like this. First and foremost is the well-being of the passengers and crew. With all the hectic activity in this kind of incident it’s really important to make sure that they’re front and centre and that they’re the focus.”

A picture of the crash site shows the damaged aircraft partly on its side in the trees, with a wing jutting up in the air at a 45-degree angle but there was yet no insight into what caused the crash.

Philipenko said the area is under the control of authorities and the TSB.

“We’re an observer when we’re there on site. Our role primarily is to make sure the passengers and crew are looked after,” he said

Darryl McDonald said his 70-year-old mother, Ernestine, suffered a broken jaw and facial injuries when the plane went down about a kilometre from the airstrip. His sister also suffered injuries to her leg.

The twin-engine ATR-42 turboprop can accommodate 50 passengers, but most typically seats 42 people along with two crew. Manufactured in France and Italy, the aircraft is designed for short-haul flights.

ATR, the manufacturer, says more than 1,500 aircraft have been sold, and it has over 200 operators in more than 100 countries, adding that, “every eight seconds, an ATR turboprop takes off or lands somewhere around the world.”

Related: Search area for missing plane downsized

West Wind Aviation, formed in 1983, operates from bases in Saskatoon, La Ronge and Stony Rapids, as well as in northern Saskatchewan. The company is First Nations and employee-owned, with Athabasca Basin Development the majority shareholder.

“Our safety record is exemplary and our customer service exceptional,” the company states on its website. “Fly with West Wind and let us take care for you.”

The airline acquired Transwest Air in 2016 for an undisclosed amount, adding several aircraft to a fleet that included five ATR-42-300s, Twin Otters and Beech planes at the time, and making it one of the province’s largest commercial aviation groups.

— with files from CKRM

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Original drums recovered amid offers to replace stolen Chemainus church set

Chemainus United Church grateful for actions of a caring community

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farmstand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out stand on Norcross Road

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Most Read