Yellowknife marks one year since plane crashed on street

09/22/2012 12:06 EDT | Updated 11/22/2012 05:12 EST
One year after an Arctic Sunwest Twin Otter float plane went down between buildings in Yellowknife’s Old Town, killing the two pilots, the city is still waiting for word on the cause of the crash.

A Transportation Safety Board spokesperson said the investigation is still ongoing and they're in the process of drafting the final report.

After trying to land at the airline’s float base in Yellowknife Bay, the Twin Otter crashed onshore on McDonald Drive between two buildings on Sept. 22, 2011.

Pilot Trevor Jonasson, 36, and co-pilot Nicole Stacey, 26, were killed. All seven passengers survived.

A couple of days after the accident, the Transportation Safety Board took the plane to an undisclosed location to be studied. Damage to one building has since been repaired. A year later the only physical sign of the crash is a cross that reads "Fly safe Trevor."

Debbie Dowdy, who runs a bed and breakfast across the street from the crash site, said the events of the day are burned in her memory. The floor of her building shook and a waitress looked out the window and said there had been a crash.

Dowdy grabbed blankets and sheets and ran across the road to survivors sitting on the curb.

“After I did everything that I could do I was just standing over here in the parking lot and I was just beside myself. Kind of in shock, you know. And I just thought to myself, God save them.”

It was the second of three fatal plane crashes in the North in a span of eight weeks last fall, after the crash of First Air 6560 in Resolute, Nunavut, Aug. 20 and followed by the crash of an Air Tindi Cessna near Lutselk’e, N.W.T., Oct. 4. All the crew members killed were based in Yellowknife.

"It was definitely very sombre,” Dowdy said. “You sort of put your arms up and you can't understand what's going on."

Tonight, friends and family of pilot Trevor Jonasson will gather at Pilots’ Monument in Old Town at dusk to light and release sky lanterns.

Nicole Stacey's family has asked people to light a candle and think of the joy she had during her short life.