Tofino RCMP praises Ahousaht First Nation’s response to plane crash

“It creates a strong team in providing response and they’re an integral part of that team.”

Two people were onboard this plane when it crashed onto Ahous Bay. (Photo - Tofino RCMP)

A rapid response by the Ahousaht First Nation and several fortunately positioned responders helped two men escape a plane crash at Ahous Bay without life-threatening injuries on Tuesday.

The small aircraft was coming in for a landing on the Vargas Island beach around 1:30 p.m. when something went wrong, according to Cpl. Therese Cochlin of the Tofino RCMP.

“The airplane flipped right over. It was upside down on the beach,” she said.

Cochlin arrived at the scene along with Canadian Coast Guard personnel and Ahousaht First Nation responders and said the two men were fortunate that emergency health services professionals and a physician were travelling onboard a nearby water taxi when the crash occurred.

“It just so happened that a water taxi was transiting by that had some EHS personnel onboard transiting from Ahousaht to Tofino, so very timely and fortunately they were available and also attended…It was a very fortunate situation,” Cochlin said adding the two men were transported by helicopter to Victoria General Hospital.

“A number of medical personnel responded and provided medical services that they could with the equipment they had on the beach and then the Cormorant from 442 Squadron in Comox attended and, together, we carried the two gentlemen into the Cormorant and they were transported to Victoria…There was not an indication that their injuries were going to be life threatening at all.”

She added the “commitment and dedication” of the Ahousaht First Nation in responding to rescue situations is a significantly valuable cog in the West Coast’s response team.

“It creates a strong team in providing response and they’re an integral part of that team,” she said.

She said police collected information at the scene that was passed on to the Transportation Safety Board, but that “there’s no further police investigation ongoing at this time.”

TSB spokesperson Julie Leroux said there would not be a full investigation into the crash.

“We’re not going to do a full report about this one,” Leroux said. “We receive about 3,000 occurrences per year, so we do a full investigation when it’s going to advance transportation safety.”

She said information about where the plane was travelling from is not yet available.

Small planes are permitted to land at Ahous Bay.

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