First Air: all four crew members died on flight 6560
"Our first priority has been contacting and looking after the families"
(Updated 1:00 p.m., Aug. 21)
All four crew members aboard First Air charter flight 6560 died when the aircraft crashed Aug. 20 about 8 km from Resolute airport, Chris Ferris, First Air’s vice president of marketing and sales, said Aug. 21 in a statement.
“Our first priority has been contacting and looking after the families of passengers and crew,” Ferris said in the statement, which he made to reporters at First Air’s office in Kanata, Ont., near Ottawa.
Ferris, his voice trembling with emotion, said First Air will not release any names or passenger details, “out of respect for our crew and their families.”
He said the cause of the accident is unknown right now, and said First Air is “co-operating fully” with officials from the Transportation Safety Board, who are now in Resolute Bay to investigate.
Field teams, including counsellors, have been sent to Resolute Bay, Yellowknife and other First Air stations to provide support, Ferris said.
Ferris said the “immediate response” of the Canadian military was “instrumental” in rescuing the three crash survivors.
About 500 Canadian Forces personnel have been based temporarily at Resolute Bay for the annual Operation Nanook sovereignty, which started in early August.
The RCMP confirmed Aug. 21 that a 48-year-old man, a 23-year-old woman and a seven-year-old girl, were transported from Resolute Bay to Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit following the crash.
The seven-year-old and the 48-year-old have since been medevaced to Ottawa General Hospital, while the 23-year-old woman remains at QGH, police said.
In Iqaluit, Nunavut health officials confirmed that the two surviving passengers, the 48-year old man and a seven year old girl, were medevaced to Ottawa around 3 a.m. eastern on Aug. 21.
Bernie Schmidt, the executive director of health and social services, said Aug. 21 the man’s condition has since been upgraded from critical to serious but stable.
The 23-year old woman remains in QGH in stable condition, he also said.
Schmidt told reporters that 30 to 35 people waited in the hospital lobby late into the night, awaiting word on the girl’s condition.
The girl is now in stable condition in Ottawa, police said
The Government of Nunavut is sending mental health staff and social workers to Resolute Bay to help the community cope with the tragedy, Schmidt said.
The RCMP said Padma Saramala, Nunavut’s chief coroner, was to arrive at the crash site today.
With files from Chris Windeyer
(More to follow)