How three survived the Resolute Bay plane crash
Tray tables were up, seat belts were fastened and the 11 passengers and two crew members sitting in the tail of First Air Flight 6560 were already starting to see the hills and sheet-metal buildings of Resolute Bay come into view through the thick fog.
Their Boeing 737 was a “combi” plane, meaning it was configured to carry both cargo and passengers. The passengers, a mixture of workers and researchers, were crammed in four rows of seats. In front of them, five cargo pallets were piled high with food and provisions for Arctic hotels and research labs.
Gabrielle Pelky, 7, had made this trip before. Air travel is a rare treat for the typical Canadian seven-year-old, but in Nunavut, aircraft are the sole means of transportation between communities. By the time many Nunavummiut start first grade, they have been aboard dozens of helicopters, bush planes and airliners. According to Gabrielle, as Resolute Bay airport approached, “everything seemed fine.”
The next thing she knew, she was on the tundra.
Shoes, baguettes, body parts, donuts, boxes of pork ribs and torn metal were strewn around her. Several dozen metres away, tattered scraps of the airplane’s fuselage were on fire. The white noise of an airliner coming in for a landing was soon replaced by little more than the sound of arctic wind. (Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters)