Four passengers and two crew members were killed when a plane headed to a diamond mine crashed in Canada’s Northwest Territories, authorities said Wednesday.
The lone survivor of Tuesday morning’s crash was initially taken to Fort Smith Health Centre and then transported by medevac to Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories Coroner Service said in a statement. The survivor’s condition was not publicly released.
The plane was “en route from Fort Smith to the Diavik Diamond Mine” when the crash happened, the coroner’s office said. The global mining company Rio Tinto said it had employees on the aircraft.
“We have been informed by authorities that a plane on its way to our Diavik mine, carrying a number of our people, crashed near Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada, resulting in fatalities,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Fort Smith is on the border with Alberta.
“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,” Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said in the statement. “We are working closely with authorities and will help in any way we can with their efforts to find out exactly what has happened.”
CNN has reached out to Rio Tinto for more information.
The Northwest Territories Coroner Service said its representatives are working with local authorities to access the crash site and start the recovery process.
“The NWT Coroner Service would like to express our condolences to the families and community of Fort Smith during this very tragic and difficult time,” the statement said.
On Tuesday morning, the Canadian Rangers and the Royal Canadian Air Force responded to a report of lost contact with an aircraft outside of Fort Smith, an RCAF spokesperson in Winnipeg, David Lavallee, told CNN Canada news partner CBC News.
Visibility was poor during the early hours Tuesday morning but improved by around 10 a.m., according to CNN’s weather team.
The Fort Smith Health Centre activated its mass casualty protocol around 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Rangers and the Royal Canadian Air Force also responded. Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board were also sent to Fort Smith following the crash.
The aircraft involved is a British Aerospace Jetstream registered to Northwestern Air Lease, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, which said it is investigating the crash. The aircraft can carry up to 19 passengers, according to Northwestern Air Lease’s website.
The coroner’s office said the two crew members worked for Northwestern Air Lease. CNN has reached out to Northwestern Air Lease for comment.
R.J. Simpson, the premier of the Northwest Territories, released a statement extending his condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of those who were aboard the airplane. He also encouraged affected residents to seek support and use mental health resources provided by the government.
“The impact of this incident is felt across the territory,” Simpson said. “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.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Aya Elamroussi, Taylor Ward and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.
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