Hay River’s airport reopens after flood

Hay River’s airport has reopened to some flights, the territorial government said on Monday, after floodwater reached the runway and triggered a closure lasting several days.

Restarting operations at the airport is considered vital as evacuees need to return home and in the near future, efforts to rebuild the community will rely on shipments of materials.

“The airlift is going to be starting very soon,” said Buffalo Airways’ Mikey McBryan in a video that documents one of the first landings at the airport after its shorter, gravel runway reopened. The main runway remains blocked by ice chunks.


“We’re going to have to get people, building materials, workers, everything you can imagine into Hay River,” McBryan said.

The video shows McBryan touring the family home in Hay River, which he said received two to three feet of water in its basement.

“My mum’s house is one of the lucky ones. It doesn’t seem to have any structural damage,” he said.

On Monday evening, the NWT government confirmed the airport had reopened to the public. The main runway is being inspected and repaired. In the meantime, bus services to take evacuees back to the community continue.

Just under 1,000 evacuees have registered at communities across the NWT. Others are understood to have sought sanctuary in northern Alberta.


The Town of Hay River has said all residents can now return but many homes may not be habitable and there is still no road access to some parts of the community. So far, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation has asked that members stay away while work to repair roads and services continues.

Separately, the territory said water had receded in the Dehcho community of Sambaa K’e after a flash flood on Sunday. The damage from that flood appears to be minor, the GNWT stated.

Jean Marie River declared the flood risk to the community is now over, while no cause for alarm has yet been reported at communities farther down the Mackenzie River or on the Peel.