Pilots Dodged Busy Street In Emergency Landing

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Witnesses say the pilots of a CASA 212 appear to have made a last-second decision to avoid landing on an a crowded commuter route and instead hit a brick sound barrier next to the freeway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada last Friday. One man on the plane died but the two pilots survived with relatively minor injuries. One engine on the aircraft, a highly specialized mineral and oil exploration platform owned by Toronto-based Fugro Airborne Surveys, was reported to have failed when the aircraft was about 12 minutes out from Saskatoon. Fugro spokesman Terry McConnell told the Postmedia News the second engine also failed and there was plenty of fuel onboard. Saskatoon Deputy Fire Chief Dan Paulsen said the pilots apparently did all they could to avoid further injuries. "Where he put the aircraft down it was certainly a great deal of airmanship to avoid any other injuries on the ground, because there certainly was potential for that," said Paulsen.

The aircraft had been in the air for more than three hours when the first engine failed. The crew was on its way to Saskatoon when the second engine failed and they set up for the emergency landing. "They picked the best possible location to try and put the aircraft down," McConnell said. The plane, which is a substantial aircraft used as a commuter airliner, cargo and military transport, was removed over the weekend and investigators are now looking at it.