A plane carrying four people crashed on take-off from Nahanni Butte’s airfield early on Wednesday afternoon.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) spokesperson Alex Fournier confirmed one pilot and three passengers had been on board when the Cessna aircraft came down at around 1:30pm.

“The aircraft was forced to land quickly and came to rest on the threshold of the runway,” said Fournier.

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“At this point the TSB has been advised of the accident. We’re still assessing and plan to conduct interviews with the pilot, eyewitnesses, and the passengers tomorrow morning.”

Investigators are travelling from Edmonton to meet with those involved in the crash.

Laverna Martel-Harvey, an employee at South Nahanni Airways, told Cabin Radio an engine failure had forced the company’s plane down after take-off.

Martel-Harvey said only minor injuries were sustained by the pilot and passengers, and medics were en-route from Yellowknife.

“They are all doing fine,” a Nahanni Butte Dene Band member of staff – who did not wish to be named before official comment had been prepared – told Cabin Radio.

‘Doing the best they can’

Shane Thompson, the MLA for Nahendeh – which includes Nahanni Butte – had been due to travel to the community on Wednesday but postponed his trip owing to poor weather conditions earlier in the day.

Thompson said the airport would be closed while an investigation took place.

“The weather wouldn’t let us go in when we needed to go in, so we just postponed it until tomorrow,” Thompson told Cabin Radio.

“Now it’s depending on [the crash] if we can get in there. Infrastructure has to close the airport until the investigation is done.

“The people that are involved, including the airline company, are doing the best they can, and thankfully there were no fatalities. They are following the process very carefully and are keeping everybody that needs to be informed, informed.”