Shrimp boat crew saves 2 men after float plane crash in Happy Valley-Goose Bay

Thanks to a nearby shrimp boat crew, two men are safe after their small float plane crashed while landing near the government dock in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Wednesday evening.

2 men plucked from cold water were taken to hospital but said to be in good shape and good spirits

The Bailey Grace is shown rescuing two men from a crashed float plane near Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Ericaa Jorgensen/Facebook)

Two men are said to be in good shape and good spirits after the float plane they were in crashed during landing in the water near the government dock in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Wednesday evening.

They were rescued from the water by some nearby shrimp fishermen.

"We got within about a hundred yards [91 metres], I'd say ... or maybe closer when the first feller popped up on the pontoon," said Chris Lethbridge, who was aboard the boat that went out to save them.

Bill Cleary and Chris Lethbridge were both aboard the boat, which went out to rescue the two men after their float plane crashed. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"They was cold and frightened. I guess in shock."

RCMP say a 911 call came in about the crash at about 9 p.m. Police, fire and search and rescue all responded.

"Once we got them in the warm and a couple of sleeping bags around them, they were pretty good." - Bill Cleary

"I spoke with some people who saw the plane go in, and indications were it looked like a smooth landing, but for some reason when it touched the water it flipped," RCMP Cpl. Ted Mugford said. 

"[They're] very lucky the boat was here."

Cold water rescue

The shrimp fisherman just happened to be staying on their boat Bailey Grace overnight so they could get an early start Thursday morning.

Bill Cleary said they first got the men up on a platform on the back of the boat and then lowered a ladder to them so they could climb aboard.

The shrimp fishermen happened to be aboard the Bailey Grace resting up for an early departure. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"Once we got them in the warm and a couple of sleeping bags around them, they were pretty good," Cleary said. 

"Then the ambulance and the RCMP and everything came down here. They took over then."

RCMP said the plane is now upside down in about 18 metres of water. It will be anchored and marked so that other planes and boats operating in the area can see it. 

"As of right now I would expect that insurance will be responsible for removing the plane," Mugford said.

Mugford said there were still some details to be worked out such as who the plane belongs to.

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker reports on Labrador for CBC News from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

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