A passenger plane carrying people from Toronto to Halifax crashed during a late snow storm shortly after midnight Saturday. The Airbus was carrying 133 passengers and five crew members. Twenty-five people were taken to hospital. Most were treated and released. One still remained in hospital as of Sunday night.
Witnesses speaking to the CBC News Channel spoke about their ordeal. While Air Canada called the incident a “hard landing” those on the plane pointed out that ripped off landing gear, an engine dropped, a wing very badly damaged and the nose of the plane missing as well as encountering an antennae array constitutes an crash.
The plane touched down 300 metres (1,100 feet)s short of the of the runway and bounced and skidded until finally coming to a stop
Passengers were forced to use the emergency exits. Many ran as fast as they could in the snow in case the downed plane caught fire. People then spent considerable time huddled together without coats in the snow. One gentleman was reported outside without shoes on.
The airport served over three million passengers in 2014. It flies cross border to the US but also to Mexico and Europe. It has an RCMP detachment and fire crew. Which raises the question as to why the shaken and injured passengers were forced to wait in the snowstorm for nearly an hour before they were supplied with blankets and helped into shelter.
Transportation Safety Board of Canada are now on site and will be working with others to analyze the scene and piece together what went wrong.
In the meantime, the passengers cannot access their belongings as the plane is a crash site.