Saturday, August 20, 2011

737 crashes in Nunavut

Tragedy in the North:
A First Air 737 crashed and caught fire in northern Nunavut Saturday, killing 12 people.

Police say the jet, a 737-200, went down Saturday afternoon near the hamlet of Resolute Bay.
Maj. Gerald Favre at the northern search and rescue centre at CFB Trenton said aircraft were already in the area as part of an operational exercise — Operation Nanook — and have been able to assist in the rescue.

He said the plane that crashed was not part of the exercise and 700 personnel participating were well position to help with the rescue.

Chris Krepski, spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said investigators are on the scene. They were already in Resolute, scheduled to participate next week in the military exercise.
In a bitterly ironic twist, an air disaster was supposed to have been part of next week's exercises:
Operation NANOOK 11 consists of joint and integrated sovereignty operations conducted primarily in the eastern Arctic and include a training exercise where the Canadian Forces responds to a simulated air disaster and maritime emergencies in the North.
More from the CP link:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was scheduled to be in Resolute to observe the military operation. His office could not immediately say whether the trip would still go ahead.

Governor General David Johnston is currenlty touring Nunavut and his official itinerary had him in Resolute Saturday morning. A spokeswoman from his office said no one from the official deligation was involved in the crash.
Update (9:30 p.m.): From the Star tonight:
The deadly crash has prompted military officials to suspend the exercises.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is touring the north this coming week as part of a weeklong annual Arctic tour. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said that his visit to the north would go ahead but the precise details of the trip, which was slated to include a stop in Resolute Bay, are in flux.