Bloomberg News

First Air Says 12 Are Killed in Canadian-Arctic 737 Crash

August 20, 2011

(Adds details on crash in second, third paragraphs.)

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Twelve people were killed when a First Air 737 passenger jet with 15 on board crashed near Resolute Bay in Nunavut, Canada, the company said. Three people survived.

The Boeing 737-200 charter aircraft was en route from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, when it crashed about 12:50 p.m. local time, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The plane lost contact with air controllers about 10 minutes prior to the crash and five miles from the Resolute Bay airport, First Air said.

Four crew members were among the 15, First Air said. It wasn’t immediately known who had chartered the flight.

The town of Resolute Bay, located next to a like-named body of water, is about 2,100 miles northwest of Montreal. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that hundreds of military personnel are in the area for Operation Nanook, though the plane had no part in any simulation exercises.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said in a statement today it has sent a team to the site of the accident to investigate.

First Air is a wholly owned unit of Makivik Corp., which oversees money paid out to Canadian Inuit under land claims agreements. The carrier is owned by 9,000 Inuit of northern Quebec via Makivik, according to the company’s website.

Based in Kanata, Ontario, First Air operates passenger and cargo flights between 30 communities in the Canadian Arctic and larger cities such as Ottawa and Montreal. It has a fleet that includes four Boeing 737-200 aircraft, and its aircraft are also used for mineral and scientific exploration and aerial surveys.

A voicemail left on the media line of the Iqaluit detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wasn’t immediately returned, nor was a voicemail left with the RMCP media line in Ottawa.

--With assistance from Dan Hart and Nancy Kercheval in New York. Editors: Sylvia Wier, Andy Davidson

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Fournier in Montreal at cfournier3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net


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