Plane crew that landed on Calgary road did ‘exemplary job’, says company

6 people were on board the Piper Navajo that clipped a light post before landing safely

A TSB investigator walks past a plane that landed on a Calgary road on Wednesday. (CBC)

The crew of a small plane that landed on a northeast Calgary street early Wednesday morning is receiving critical incident counselling.

Super T Aviation of Medicine Hat, Alta., owns the Piper Navajo aircraft. The company said it will be conducting its own investigation into what happened.

“Super T Aviation acknowledges that, once the decision was made that the aircraft would not be able to land at the Calgary International Airport, the actions of the crew in a very difficult situation were exemplary and resulted in a safe landing with no injuries to passengers or crew,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

Six people were on board the plane, which landed safely on 36th Street, just south of 16th Avenue N.E. No injuries were reported.

Before making the emergency landing, the pilot radioed the control tower to report a problem with the plane.

“I’ve just lost the right fuel pump, that’s why we’re requesting 35 right,” the pilot can be heard saying on a recording obtained by CBC News.

The small plane was inbound to Calgary International Airport.

The company also thanked the public for positive comments that have been expressed on social media since the incident, but asked for privacy for those involved going forward.

Investigators photograph the damaged wing of the plane. (CBC)

Owner Terri Super said the pilot has been with the company for “several years” and has more than 20 years of flight experience.

The company said in an earlier statement that the plane was forced to land “due to a loss of power of unknown cause.”

Mike Adam, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said it’s too early to speculate on a cause for the emergency landing.

“We will be collecting data, we’ll conduct witness interviews, we’ll examine and photograph the wreckage,” he said.

“We’ll also examine the maintenance history, meteorological conditions, operation of the equipment, operation policies, and regulation requirements.”

Merle Johnson, CEO of Calgary-based Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., said the four passengers are his employees who were heading to the Fort McMurray area to work.

He said following the emergency landing he decided to send them home to Medicine Hat.

“They will not be returning to work this week,” Johnson said. “Our main focus is on their safety and we are very grateful that there were no physical injuries sustained to the passengers or the crew.”

Passengers shaken but unhurt

Jarrett Stobbe had just left the C-Train and was walking to work when he saw the plane about 10 metres overhead.

“I heard this loud noise and looked up, and it came right over my head,” he said. “It was coming in at kind of an angle and clipped that light post, then landed. The pilot did a heck of a job to get it down like that.”

Jamal Hammoud — who lives just off of 36th Street in Marlborough — said he woke up at 5:45 a.m. to have a drink of water when he glanced out the window and saw the fire trucks and police cars. He initially thought it was a C-Train accident.

“So I look for the C-Train and all I see is an airplane in the middle of the road. It’s crazy,” Hammoud said.

He said he was amazed the pilot was able to land the plane on what is usually a busy stretch of road filled with early morning commuters.

“You see that in the movies. You’d never think the pilot could land the airplane like that.”

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