12 dead in plane crash in Canadian Arctic

August 21, 2011 6:11 am

, MONTREAL, Aug 21 –  Twelve people were killed and three others injured when a passenger jet crashed in the Canadian Arctic, federal police said.

A Boeing 737 operated by First Air with 15 people on board, four of them crew members, crashed a few kilometers (miles) from Resolute Bay in the Arctic territory of Nunavut, shortly before 1:00 pm (1800 GMT), police said.

The plane was en route from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay when it crashed. The jet was then scheduled to travel on to Grise Fiord on the southern tip of Ellesmere Island.

Doctors arrived quickly at the scene, according to emergency services at the Trenton military base in Ontario.

“Our investigators are already working there. The black boxes have been located,” Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesman Chris Krepski told AFP.

Investigators have so far refrained from speculating about the causes of the accident.

Reports indicated there was fog in the area when the plane crashed.

Police and local officials in Resolute Bay — home to about 200 people — were not immediately available for comment on what may have caused the deadly crash or the identities of the victims.

There was also no new information about the condition of the three people injured.

First Air links about 25 communities in Canada’s far north to major cities such as Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton.

The doomed plane was made in 1975, and purchased by First Air in 1989, according to Radio Canada.

Hundreds of military personnel were in the Resolute Bay area participating in military exercises codenamed “Operation Nanook.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected there Monday as part of his annual trip to the Arctic, which coincides with the drills.

Governor General David Johnston was also due in the area over the weekend.


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