Landing gear fails in Buffalo Narrows

By Rhonda Coooper

Buffalo Narrows RCMP, the local fire department and EMS responded to a call of an airplane experiencing mechanical issues with its landing gear attempting to land at the Buffalo Narrows airport last Friday afternoon.

The airplane owned by Courtesy Air was returning to Buffalo Narrows at approximately 3 p.m. on Oct. 21 with six Areva employees on board along with the pilot. After circling the area to burn off excess fuel the airplane landed safely with its rear landing gear in the up position.

“There was minimal damage to the airplane and the passengers and pilot were uninjured,” said Jackie Fowler, president of Courtesy Air.

Upon landing, it was determined a part within the landing gear had broke, preventing the apparatus from doing its job.

Courtesy Air employees were readying the airplane for removal from the airfield, when a mechanic went underneath to check the landing gear that worked during the touch down. At that time, another mechanical failure was experienced and the plane fell on top of the employee pinning him underneath.

Buffalo Narrows fire department were called back to the scene.

“We had to jack up the plane to free him. It took about three minutes,” said fire chief Dale Shatilla.

The injured person, a 30-year-old male, was transported first to Ile-a-la-Crosse hospital then to Saskatoon where he underwent surgery for two broken arms.

“He was very lucky,” said Fowler. “It could have been a lot worse.

“We brought all our staff together for a debriefing session where everyone had a chance to talk about the incident.”

The two separate incidents, the landing and the pinning of the employee on the airstrip, are being investigated respectively by the Transportation Safety Board and Occupational Health and Safety.

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