A floatplane went down in the Tofino harbour on Monday, Oct. 18.
It was the second floatplane to crash in recent months, with another incident taking place in late July.
At approximately 4:39 p.m. the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) received a call about a floatplane that had flipped after making contact with a boat in the Tofino Harbour at the end of the First Street Dock, reads a statement from Lieutenant Pamela Hogan, Public Affairs Officer, Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC).
“JRCC tasked Tofino Lifeboat Station Cape Anne to respond. When they arrived on scene, all personnel involved in the crash had already been brought ashore as there were many vessels in the area willing to help when the incident happened. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vessel also responded. All personnel were seen by Emergency Health Services and there were no life threatening injuries. RCMP and Transportation Safety Board are now lead agencies involved,” the statement reads.
One witness who was travelling from Ahousaht to Tofino when the plane crashed heard the VHF 83A channel radio communications between Coast Guard and RCMP as the rescue unfolded.
“They said all are accounted for and they are all at the hospital now,” said the local vessel operator.
Lieutenant Hogan confirmed that there were six souls onboard including the pilot.
The operator of the Beaver floatplane is Tofino Air.
According to Sgt. Colin Douglas of the Tofino RCMP the floatplane collided with a water taxi while trying to land in the Tofino harbour.
“I can confirm that upon approach on landing in the harbour, the plane did in fact collide with a water vessel,” said Sgt. Douglas.
“The people onboard had some minor injuries. Everyone onboard the water taxi was alright as well. Everyone was a bit raddled, but no significant injuries,” he said.
“It should be noted that the response from the surrounding communities including Opitsaht and Ahousaht were incredible. Those from the public were on scene in the water pulling people out within a minute or so. Thanks for that quick response from the community. It could have been a lot worse.”
Madison Riddock, base manager with Tofino Air, thanked the community.
“We are very fortunate no one was seriously injured and we are very thankful to our amazing community and to all the people who were quick to respond and assisting the passengers and pilot to safety,” she said, adding that it would be beneficial of the operators of both boats and airlines to meet annually to ensure the safety of both airlines and boat operators.
Tofino Air owner and operator Josh Ramsay said he would be happy to put something together.
“We need to create a safer water way here,” said Ramsay.
Sgt. Douglas agrees that communication between all stakeholders is a good idea.
“It’s a very busy harbour. Between the floatplanes, the boats, the kayaks and the tourism we get here in the summer. It would benefit everybody that partakes in marine activities on the harbour,” Sgt. Douglas said.
Tofino RCMP will turn the investigation over to Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety board once their follow-up (interviews) are complete.