Airline Grounds Caravans After Icing Incident


A northern Canadian airline has temporarily grounded its fleet of four Cessna Caravans after one made an emergency landing on a frozen lake early Thursday. The flight from Yellowknife to Fort Simpson was about 15 miles into the flight when it apparently encountered severe icing. The pilot headed for the broad expanse of ice on Great Slave Lake. The rough landing collapsed one of the gear legs resulting in a damaged wing, but there were no serious injuries among the six people aboard. Passenger Louie Bethale told the CBC that he could hear ice hitting the windows and the airplane making “beeping noises.” The occupants were rescued from a nearby island where they were able to light a fire to stay warm in the freezing temperatures.

Air Tindi President Al Martin told the CBC the aircraft have been grounded while the airline and the Transportation Safety Board try to figure out what happened. He said the Caravans aren’t flown into known ice and ice was not forecast for that route. “From all indications we weren’t expecting the icing, obviously [the pilot] encountered,” he said. “Talking to him this morning, the plane was dry, clear, all ready to go. He did spend time consulting the weather and getting the information but didn’t have an indication at that point.” The aircraft is still on the ice, which is relatively thin this early in the winter. It might have to be recovered by helicopter.