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Plane crash leaves multiple dead in Canadian Northwest Territories

The airplane crashed near the Rio Tinto diamond mine

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 24 January 2024 16:04 GMT
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Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine in Canada (Newscast/PA)
Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine in Canada (Newscast/PA) (PA Media)

An unknown number of people are dead after a plane crashed on its route to a diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories, according to police.

The airplane reportedly crashed near Fort Smith, a town near the border of the Northwest Territories and Alberta, on Tuesday.

Some of the passengers were reportedly workers for the global mining company Rio Tinto, according to a statement released by the company.

Rio Tinto did not confirm the number of workers that were on the plane but said that the crash caused a number of fatalities.

A coroner in the territory also confirmed that people died in the crash, but similarly did not provide specific details, according to CNN.

“At this time, we can confirm there are fatalities but we will not be providing any additional information pending next of kin,” Northwest Territories Coroner Garth Eggenberger said in a press release.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rangers and the Royal Canadian Air Force responded to the crash. The nearby Fort Smith Health Centre enacted its mass casualty protocol in response to the crash.

The premiere of the Northwest Territories, RJ Simpson, released a statement following the crash offering sympathies to those affected by the crash and subsequent loss of life.

“It is with a heavy heart that I express my deepest condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who were aboard the Northwestern Air flight that crashed outside of Fort Smith today,” he said in the statement.

“The impact of this incident is felt across the territory. The people we lost were not just passengers on a flight; they were neighbors, colleagues, friends, and loved ones. Their stories and contributions to our communities will not be forgotten.”

He encouraged residents to use state-provided mental health resources to process the loss.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm also issued a statement in the wake of the crash.

“I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who have been affected by this tragedy. As a company we are absolutely devastated by this news and offering our full support to our people and the community who are grieving today,” he wrote.

He further said the company was working closely with Canadian law enforcement to investigate the crash.

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