Military exercise ends with plane crash in Northern Canada
Operation Nanook, a training program in Arctic Canada, faced the tragic realities of their training today. While practicing for an Arctic air crash disaster reality brought that training into force Saturday as a tragic air crash claimed the lives of twelve.
Military exercises were taking place in Resolute Bay in Nunavut when a crash involving a First Air 737 happened. Military members in place for training rushed to the scene putting forth practices that they were working on. Military helicopters and local residents on all-terrain vehicles raced to the scene hoping to take care of survivors. Three people of the 15 on board were pulled from the flames of the downed aircraft.
The plane was a chartered flight traveling from Yellowknife to Resolute Bay. According to local witnesses that two of the survivors were stewardesses, one of which is listed in critical condition. The other survivor is the granddaughter, 7, of Aziz Kheraj who owns the South Camp Inn in Resolute Bay. Her younger sister, 6, was also on the doomed plane.
The sound of the explosion rocked the area but heavy fog obstructed visuals of the crash.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada said in a statement, “Sharon and I are deeply saddened by the catastrophe that occurred in Resolute Bay, where an airplane crashed earlier this afternoon.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragic event.
Earlier today, I had the opportunity to visit many of the Operation NANOOK military units.
I was able to witness first hand the professionalism and dedication of our Canadian Forces and civilian organizations as they responded quickly and effectively to this catastrophe.”
Operation Nanook 11′s training period this year was to take place from August 4 until the 26th. The exercise is a joint venture with Navy, Army, Air Force and Special Forces along with government partners. First Air is a corporate partner of the operation.
After the crash today the operation has been suspended. At the time of the crash about 500 military members were in the area. Military doctors and nurses treated the victims in a set up medical station.
On Sunday The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement on the crash of First Air flight 6560:
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of 12 people in the crash of First Air flight 6560. My sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of the deceased, and my thoughts are with the three people injured in the crash.
Canadian Forces personnel, as well as their civilian’s counterparts, quickly responded to the scene of the crash. The crash site was just a few kilometers away from a military location used for Operation Nanook, Canada’s major annual Northern sovereignty operation.
Canada’s men and women in uniform, including 15 medical personnel, with two Griffon helicopters and one Sea King helicopter, were first on the scene, extinguishing fires along with Resolute Airport firefighters, and searching for and providing aid to the passengers and crew of the downed 737. The survivors were later transported to Iqaluit by a Canadian Forces C-17 Globemaster.
Operation Nanook has been suspended in light of the crash. One of the major aspects of this year’s exercise was to test the Canadian Forces’ Major Air Disaster plan, a critical response designed to safeguard Canadians after a large passenger plane crash. The Canadian Forces are always ready to respond whenever Canadians are in need. Their professionalism is derived from training exercises such as Operation Nanook
Those who perished in this unfortunate accident will be remembered by Canadians, the Canadian Forces family and the Department of National Defence