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NNSL Photograph

A Canadian Coast Guard crew tows an Air Tindi Single Otter back to shore after the plane crashed Friday evening. Two crew members and seven passengers were onboard the plane on their way to Blachford Lake Lodge. No one was seriously injured. - Terry Krueger/NNSL photo

Family pulls 9 off downed plane

Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 27/05) - All Archie Buckley could say after watching a floatplane crash on Yellowknife Bay was "Oh shit, we've got to get them the hell out of there."

A Single Otter was taking off from Yellowknife Bay at around 7:15 p.m., carrying seven passengers and two crew members to Blachford Lake Lodge when it stalled and crashed into the bay, coming down on its left side.

First on scene was not Air Tindi staff or the Canadian Coast Guard, but three good samaritans.

Buckley, who lives in a houseboat on Yellowknife Bay, said he has helped rescue many people on the lake over the years.

Friday he was at home with his wife Nancy and son Jack and grandson Bill when the plane crashed.

"We are always looking, always aware of what's going on because we live so close," said Archie.

Buckley got into one boat and his son Jack and grandson Bill got into another and headed towards the plane. Nancy was on the phone right away with Air Tindi to tell them the plane had crashed.

"They didn't know about it," said Archie.

When the Buckleys got to the plane, eight people were already on the pontoon sticking out of the water and a ninth was climbing up.

"We put them all in Jack's boat and brought them to Air Tindi," said Archie. "We asked them if they were all alright and they said they were. We just wanted to get them inside as fast as possible," he said.

Dave Karpon of the Canadian Coast Guard was at the scene shortly after the crash.

"We were there when the people were back on shore. They were in shock, there was a couple of them who had some bruises and sore bones, but other than that they were in good shape," said Karpon.

Passengers and crew were taken to Stanton Territorial Hospital with bumps and bruises, but nothing serious.

Air Tindi office manager Teri Arychuk said they aren't sure exactly how the crash happened.

Shortly after the spill, the captain had everyone evacuated from the front of the craft, she said.

The plane was badly damaged and is now in the Air Tindi hangar.

"I don't have a dollar figure or anything. It will definitely take some time to fix it," Arychuk said.

Transportation Safety Canada is investigating the accident.

- with files from Yose Cormier