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5 Dead in Bearskin Airlines Crash

Five people are dead following a plane crash near the Red Lake Airport. The Red Lake detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed a plane went down at approximately 6:30 p.m. CST on Sunday evening prior to landing at the airport.
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Five people are dead following a plane crash near the Red Lake Airport.

The Red Lake detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police confirmed a plane went down at approximately 6:30 p.m. CST on Sunday evening prior to landing at the airport. There were two survivors from Winnipeg, a 50-year-old female and a 29-year-old male, on the plane who were transported from the scene via ambulance with non-life threatening injuries.

Names of the deceased are being withheld until next of kin are notified.

The OPP said the plane was a Bearskin Airlines flight that originated from Sioux Lookout.

The Transportation Safety Board and police did not immediately confirm the type of plane that crashed, but Bearskin's website indicates it operates only one model, the Fairchild Metroliner, a twin turboprop that can seat 19 passengers.

Bearskin is based in Sioux Lookout, Ont. and has operated since 1963, employing 300 people in Ontario and Manitoba. Red Lake is located 268 kilometres north of Kenora.

The small airline services 18 destinations in Ontario and Manitoba.

It's not the first time a Bearskin plane has crashed. In May, 1995 one of the airline's planes collided with a Piper Navajo near the Sioux Lookout airport, killing all eight people on board the two aircraft.

The OPP sergeant on duty in Red Lake, who did not give a name, said the plane may have hit power lines on the way down, but could not comment on any power outages in the municipality.

The Transportation Safety Board said via Twitter they are dispatching investigators to the scene, and the OPP will remain on scene to provide assistance.

Red Lake mayor Phil Vinet said the tragedy has hit the town of 4,300 hard.

It's the second fatal plane crash this year after a float plane went down near the Bruce Channel in May, taking the lives of two people.

"It sends shock waves right through. I can only imagine that every Red Laker this morning has awoken with a heavy heart," he said.

Vinet was at the scene of the crash near Hwy 125 until midnight. Red Lake senior staff were debriefed Sunday night but like everyone else, he's waiting for information from the OPP and the Transportation Safety Board.

Until then the community will host its Remembrance Day ceremony, which will take on a much more solemn tone as the tragedy is top of mind for those in mourning Vinet said




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