Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Westlock, Alberta, Canada - Pilot survives crash into power pole

Doug Neuman/WN 
A crop-duster hit some power lines near Jarvie last Wednesday afternoon, knocking out power to most of Westlock County for about an hour. The pilot was taken to hospital in Westlock and was later airlifted to Edmonton. 

Much of Westlock and Westlock County was left without power for about an hour last Wednesday afternoon after a crop-duster crashed, taking a power pole with it.

Emergency crews, including RCMP, Westlock EMS, the Westlock Fire Department and the Jarvie Fire Department, responded to the scene of the crash near Jarvie at about 1:30 p.m.

Westlock RCMP Staff Sgt. Bryan Clayton said police are investigating the incident in consultation with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which oversees enforcement of the Aeronautics Act.

The plane, described as a small crop-duster, was taking off from a farmer’s field when it hit some power lines, says police.

The 44-year-old pilot, a man from the Westlock area, then appeared to lose control of the plane and crash into a field near Township Road 632 and Range Road 12.

The pilot sustained injuries in the crash and was transported to hospital in Westlock.

He was later transferred by STARS Air Ambulance to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.

Cam Heke, a spokesperson for STARS, said crews accepted a call for an inter-hospital transfer in Westlock just after 6 p.m., and confirmed the patient had been involved in a plane crash.

“He was in critical condition en route to the University of Alberta Hospital with life-threatening injuries,” he said.

Clayton said this type of incident is rare in the Westlock area — this is the first plane crash he recalls Westlock members having responded to in his time here.

“I’d say it’s very rare,” he said.

Westlock RCMP continue to investigate the crash, and it is not yet known if any charges will be laid.

“The whole matter is still under investigation. We’re investigating with the TSB; it will be their decision,” he said.

“I don’t know if charges would even apply, or if there are other measures that would be in place.”


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