Unlikely coincidence helps crash survivors

2011-08-22 09:42

Nunavut, Canada – Several hundred military personnel in Canada’s remote Arctic region who were preparing for a mock airliner crash training exercise suddenly found themselves plunged into a real rescue mission.

Within minutes after a Boeing 737 200-passenger jet slammed into a hill, military helicopters were landing at the crash site to evacuate the three survivors of the crash that killed 12 people.

First Air charter flight 6560 crashed on Saturday afternoon in foggy weather as it was approaching the airport near the tiny hamlet of Resolute Bay in the Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Local residents rushed to the scene in their all-terrain vehicles only to find a massive military rescue operation under way.

Officials say the rapid response may have increased the chances for the three survivors among the 15 people on board the plane which crashed in rough terrain in one of the most remote regions of Canada.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with those affected by Saturday’s tragic plane crash,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement.

“Thanks to the herculean efforts of first responders, including members of the Canadian Armed Forces, lives were saved that otherwise might have been lost,” he said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Angelique Dignard said two of the survivors – a seven-year-old girl and a 48-year-old man – were transported to a hospital in Ottawa from a medical facility in the Nunavut territorial capital of Iqaluit.

A 23-year-old woman remains in a hospital in Iqaluit.

Dignard said all three were listed in stable condition yesterday, but she would not comment on the nature of their injuries.

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