(Twitter photoe @Alegaree)
By Cullen Crozier and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The Northwest Territories’ coroner released the names of the pilot and co-pilot who were killed when the Twin Otter plane they were flying crashed into Yellowknife’s Old Town neighbourhood Thursday.
The coroner identified the pilot as Trevor Jonasson, 36, and the co-pilot as 26 year old Nicole Stacey.
The crash also injured seven passengers aboard and one was airlifted to Edmonton for treatment.
The plane was on its way back from the Thor Lake exploration camp, which sits about 100 kilometres east of Yellowknife.
The camp is run by Avalon Rare Metals and three of the passengers were employees of the company and the other four were visiting the site as guests of the company on a tour, according to the company’s CEO Don Bubar.
“We are pretty upset that the pilots were killed but relieved it wasn’t worse than that,” said Bubar, whose mineral exploration and development company is headquartered in Toronto.
A total of nine people were aboard the Arctic Sunwest aircraft when it crashed as it was trying to land, said Damien Healy, spokesperson for the territorial Department of Health and Social Services.
The plane, which was aiming to land on Yellowknife Bay, clipped a power line and a building before crashing between two buildings. The RCMP said they received a report about the crash at about 1:15 p.m.
Witnesses at the scene Friday said they saw crash investigators remove an orange box from the plane. The RCMP and investigators with the Department of Transportation are currently on the scene.
The plane crashed just below a monument dedicated to bush pilots and nearly hit a building where two of the survivors of the Aug. 20 Resolute Bay, Nunavut, plane crash worked.
The plane is expected to remain at the site for the rest of the week.
Yellowknife residents held a candlelight vigil at the scene Thursday night.
Bubar said he managed to talk to one of his employees after the crash.
“I had a brief conversation with our senior staff member who was on the flight who assured me he was fine and everyone was in stable condition,” he said.
Andre Dorais, a cook at Bullocks’ Bistro, which is in Old Town, said he heard a loud bang before the power went out in the restaurant.
Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem said the crash would likely impact almost everyone in the tight-knit Yellowknife community.
“Everybody would have known everybody that was on the plane,” said Van Tighem. “Our librarian lives in a house near there, friends of mine live on the street, I live a block away so yeah, it was close to home.”
Van Tighem said people in the city were already reeling from the death of local residents who were aboard the First Air plane that crashed in Resolute Bay.
“We have just gone through two weeks of memorial services,” said Van Tighem. “Everybody in town will be hit with this, one way or another.”
An employee at Arctic Sunwest said Thursday the company was not commenting at the moment.
Arctic Sunwest is a charter company with a head office in Yellowknife.