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Crew safe as Buffalo flight goes down with engine failure

A Buffalo Airways aircraft outside the airline's hangar in December 2018
A Buffalo Airways aircraft outside the airline's hangar in December 2018. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

A Buffalo Airways aircraft suffered an engine failure and came down outside Hay River on Friday morning.

A DC-3 operated by the airline left Hay River shortly before 8am on Friday before experiencing an engine failure southeast of the airfield, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada told Cabin Radio.

The aircraft came down away from the runway while attempting to return.

Two crew were on board, the safety board said. Both were uninjured.



“Right now we are assessing the occurrence and deciding whether or not we are deploying,” said safety board spokesperson Alex Fournier.

No further information was available, Fournier said.

Cabin Radio understands the aircraft is damaged beyond repair.

Buffalo, which could not be immediately reached for comment, is known across the Northwest Territories and beyond for its use of Douglas DC-3 planes.



The Hay River-based airline’s fame, driven by its own TV show – Ice Pilots NWT – is based on its dedication to an iconic fleet of DC-3 aircraft, each built more than 70 years ago.

Mikey McBryan, the face of the airline in the Ice Pilots show, is in the process of restoring another DC-3 said to have been used during World War Two’s D-Day operations.

Friday’s engine failure continues a 12-month period in which the Northwest Territories as a whole has experienced an unusual number of aviation incidents.

Earlier this week, a Transportation Safety Board official told aviation executives at a Yellowknife conference: “We were enjoying quite a run over the past five years of no serious injuries or accidents, until this past year, when we saw a bit of a jump.

“Unfortunately, the past year caught up with us.”

Those incidents included three fatalities when an aircraft crashed at Little Doctor Lake outside Fort Simpson, and the loss of two lives when an Air Tindi aircraft came down in January.

Over a broader span of time, statistics suggest the NWT is dealing with fewer such incidents year on year.

Between 19 and 31 reportable incidents have taken place in the territory over each year of the past decade.

“The number of incidents over each year is quite sporadic but there is bit of a trend line downwards,” Transportation Safety Board official Jonathon Lee told the conference of the Northern Air Transport Association.