Smoke rises from a plane crash in a forested area near Robert Service Campground the evening of May 27 in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Two dead after plane crashes into forest near Whitehorse airport

The crash happened shortly after take-off, according to a Transportation Safety Board manager

Two people are dead after a small plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Whitehorse airport Monday evening.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s western regional manager, Jon Lee, confirmed the fatalities in an interview Monday night.

According to Lee, the plane, a Cessna 170, took off from Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport at 5:30 p.m. and crashed shortly after takeoff.

The two occupants inside were “fatally injured,” Lee said.

The plane had an intended destination of Anchorage, Alaska.

The Transportation Safety Board is planning on sending investigators to Whitehorse Tuesday morning, Lee added.

The Whitehorse Fire Department, Whitehorse RCMP and airport rescue firefighters all responded to reports about the crash.

Emergency responders were still on scene as of 7:45 p.m. and drivers are being asked to avoid the area around Robert Service Way.

A News reporter who was near the scene shortly after the crash, saw a column of smoke rising from the forested area immediately south of the airport runway, as well as a helicopter with a bucket circling the area before flying towards Schwatka Lake.

Robert Service Campground attendant Jessica Harach told the News that she had been walking around the nearby campground around 5:30 p.m. when she heard something unusual.

“I heard a plane coming in and it stopped very suddenly, not like, when planes are landing and they sort of wind down,” she said. “It was a very sudden stop … It was just the loud plane, and then nothing.”

Harach said she didn’t see what happened, but soon saw a helicopter in the sky and heard emergency vehicles speeding by.

With files from John Hopkins-Hill


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