Credits: Julie Jocsak/ St. Catharines Standard/QMI Agency
ST. CATHARINES, ON. -- A week after firefighters underwent emergency training in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., for plane crashes, they had to deal with the real thing Sunday.
Two people were rushed to hospital with minor injuries after their small two-seater plane crash-landed just after 2 p.m. in a field at the Niagara District Airport.
"We were hoping we'd never have to do it in real life and here we are, seven days later," Chief Joe Zambito of the Niagara-on-the-Lake fire department said.
Zambito said it's believed the single-engine plane took off from the airport, lost power and tried to turn around. It crashed in the field, a short distance away from the airport building.
Firefighters assisted in extricating the pilot, who Zambito said suffered back injures.
The pilot and a female, whose ages were unknown late Sunday, were conscious and rushed to St. Catharines General Hospital.
Shawn-Ness Wonson, a pilot with National Helicopters Inc., saw the pair a short time earlier while he was in the air.
"On takeoff I saw them go past me. They gave me a wave," he said.
A little while later, he heard over the radio there had been a "hard landing."
Airport manager Len O'Connor said he was called to the airport at 2:15 p.m. for a crash.
He said the plane was an Emeraude CP32 with the two passengers aboard and came in with a low approach.
The airport closed two runways immediately.
He said the Transportation Safety Board of Canada was called in to investigate.
Niagara-on-the-Lake firefighters were joined by Emergency Medical Services and Niagara Regional Police Sunday.
Zambito said firefighters were at the airport last Saturday for a training exercise which included a small single plane.
"It was good timing, depending on how you look at it," he said.
Zambito said fortunately there was no threat of a fuel leak.
Niagara Regional Police Const. Derek Watson said Sunday afternoon the injuries of the two plane occupants were minor.