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Float plane glides to emergency landing in Ganges Harbour from 2,500 feet

Dec 30 2011

A Harbour Air single-engine float plane had engine trouble at 2,500 feet Thursday and had to make an emergency landing, gliding with reduced power onto Ganges Harbour.

Flight 215, a de Havilland Otter, was en route from Vancouver harbour to Victoria harbour when it ran into trouble and the pilot "feathered" the prop which made it cone-shaped, said Randy Wright, senior vice-president of Harbour Air.

The seasoned pilot glided the disabled plane down to a smooth landing, said Wright.

"He did a very good job, did what he was trained to do," said Wright.

A coast guard boat ferried passengers to shore, said Doug Strachan, air force co-ordinator with the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

Passengers were then flown to Victoria aboard another Harbour Air plane.

None of the 11 passengers nor the pilot was hurt.

The passengers "were all in good spirits," said Wright, who talked with them all.

The plane was towed into the dock to find out what went wrong.

Jack Pattinson saw the aircraft floating in the sea in front of his Price Road home about 1:30 p.m.

"A coast guard boat took off passengers and took them back into the harbour," said Pattinson.

Usually, when aircraft get near his home, they are airborne, said Pattinson, a former pilot.

Harbour Air has 25 flights a day, carrying hundreds of passengers between Vancouver and Victoria.

It's been "years and years" since a mishap occurred, Wright said.

Harbour Air and the Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

smuculloch@timescolonist.com

— with files from Katie DeRosa, Times Colonist

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