In what is considered to be the excellent execution of a rescue operation, the two-person crew and eight passengers of a chartered Air Tindi Twin Otter were recovered after their aircraft crashed into terrain short of its intended landing site on the frozen surface of Lac de Gras, around 300 km northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. The aircraft was transporting winter road construction crews from Margaret Lake, NT.
First on the scene after the Twin Otter crashed at around 1 pm on Wednesday (Dec. 27) were three RCAF SAR Techs who parachuted to the scene from an RCAF CC-130H Hercules that had been dispatched from its Winnipeg base. The aircraft circled for about an hour in 70-km winds before the SAR Techs, equipped with survival supplies, jumped after nightfall at around 7 pm. Two hours later crews from a nearby diamond drilling site operated by Rio Tinto arrived by snowmobile to assist.
The following day helicopters evacuated the crew and passengers, two of whom were seriously injured and six who had sustained minor injuries. The aircraft is reported to have sustained substantial damage.
The Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to the scene.