06/25/2013 02:48 EDT | Updated 08/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Witness describes B.C. float plane landing without propeller

A float plane bound for Vancouver was forced to make an emergency water landing after losing its propeller mid-flight on Monday.

Local resident John Smith said he jumped in his boat and rushed out to help tow the plane and its passengers to safety as soon as he heard about the downed aircraft in Halfmoon Bay, a small community largely made up of summer cottages on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast.

"Well the pontoons had several cuts," Smith told CBC News. "Even though the front sections were leaking, it was no hazard to the plane sinking."

The pilot and his three passengers were not injured during the Seair Beaver DHC-2's impromptu water landing yesterday around 1:40 p.m. PT. The plane had taken off in Powell River, B.C.

- Read more about the float plane landing

Together with another boat and the Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Smith helped tow the plane and its passengers to a nearby dock.

"The passengers stayed right on until we took the [plane] into the Secret Cove government dock and tied it up," he said.

Smith said the pilot later hopped on another Seair plane back to Richmond, B.C., while the three passengers were put in a taxi for a ferry ride to their destination.

Terry Hiebert, operations manager at Seair, said the pilot had 25 years of flying experience.

"The pilot was pretty shook up, but he did a pretty good job landing it and no injuries that we know of. Everybody's fine," he said, adding that he's never heard of a propeller coming off a Beaver aircraft and does not believe it was a problem with maintenance.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is now investigating why the propeller malfunctioned.

The plane will be towed back to Vancouver tonight.