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Plane crashes in northern Alberta, one dead

CONKLIN, Alta. - One person was killed and four others were seriously injured Monday when a plane carrying oil industry workers crash-landed in the muskeg of remote northeastern Alberta.

CONKLIN, Alta. - One person was killed and four others were seriously injured Monday when a plane carrying oil industry workers crash-landed in the muskeg of remote northeastern Alberta.

The twin-engine King Air 100 was on its way from Edmonton City Centre Airport to Kirby Lake, southeast of Conklin, with eight passengers and two crew. It was in the process of landing around noon when something went wrong.

"The plane performed a crash landing while attempting to land at the airstrip," said RCMP Sgt. Tim Taniguchi. "The Transportation Safety Board will have to conduct an investigation."

The crash, signalled by the plane's emergency beacon, touched off a rescue that involved emergency personnel from Conklin and Fort McMurray, as well as military search and rescue from as far away as Winnipeg and a helicopter ambulance from Edmonton. Emergency crews from a nearby Cenovus Energy plant also responded to the scene.

Two of the seriously injured were airlifted to Fort McMurray and two to Edmonton. The rest were treated at the scene and were to be taken back to Edmonton.

An early report from Transport Canada said the aircraft is owned by Kenn Borek Air.

Initial reports from military search and rescue indicated the passengers were employees of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., but a BP Canada spokeswoman confirmed later Monday that the passengers were their employees.

Melanie Ostopowich said the seven BP Canada employees and a contractor were travelling to the area as part of a regular crew change at a BP natural gas operation. She declined to give any further information.

Capt. Wayne Sinker, with the military's Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said freezing rain initially hampered rescue efforts.

"The weather was not good there and it didn't look good for getting helicopters in — freezing rain and that sort of thing. But it did pick up," Sinker said.

Conklin is near the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary — a 350-kilometre-drive northeast from Edmonton and a 155 kilometre drive southeast from Fort McMurray.

Kenn Borek Air said it would have more to say about the accident later Monday. Based in Calgary, the airline, which specializes in polar travel, has bases in Iqaluit, Hall Beach, Resolute, Eureka, Cambridge Bay and Inuvik in the Canadian North.

Company founder Kenn Borek, who moved to the High Arctic during the oil and gas boom in the 1960s and 1970s, died in April 2002 in a car crash near Beaverlodge, Alta.

CORRECTS spelling of Cenovus in para 5

 
 
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