Monday, July 22, 2024

The story behind the 1989 Inner Harbour plane crash not many Victorians know about (PHOTOS)

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Nearly 34 years ago to the day, a float plane crashed in Victoria’s Inner Harbour near where the Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel stands today.  

The Air BC ‘Twin Otter’ float plane carried seven passengers and was attempting to land on a trip from Vancouver. 

According to a 1989 Times Colonist article, the vessel stalled while the pilot attempted to pull out of a landing to circle around and try again. The plane came down hard and the floats splayed outward, leaving the Air BC vessel stranded.

(Times Colonist 1989)

“I was on that February 1989 flight,” said Greg McKillop on a social media post. “It was scary when, once the plane stopped, the pilot yelled for everyone to get out.” 

McKillop recalls climbing out the starboard emergency door along with the rest of the passengers and seeing the floats spread out and entangled with the propellers. The passengers were left to stand on the float and wait for help to come. 

Shortly after climbing out of the plane, a fishing vessel docked nearby that witnessed the crash came to the passengers aid. A fisherman named Tim Webster and his wife were the ones who came to the stranded passengers’ aid. 

“My wife Margaret and I got the rattled passengers off the plane,” said Webster on social media.

“As I recall the troller Nootka Lady responded first but was too large to get alongside and under the wing, so we went out in our 21′ crab skiff to help.” 

“The skiff was loaded with smelly crab bait and the passengers were mostly fancy government folks with leather briefcases.”

McKillop recalled having his feet washed over with “smelly fish slime” once onboard the fishing vessel. 

(Grant Walker/Facebook)

An Air BC representative asked all the passengers if they’d like to go to a hospital to ensure they were not injured in the crash — some passengers agreed while some declined the offer.

“There were 3 passengers in the ambulance that I rode in and one elderly gentleman was complaining of back issues so the attendants spent a bit of time checking him out while the other passenger and I sat on a bench seat along the side of the vehicle,” said McKillop. 

All aboard the plane survived the crash and no one was seriously injured.

(Grant Walker/Facebook)
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Curtis Blandy
curtis@victoriabuzz.com

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