Canadian Security Magazine

WestJet says six passengers injured in evacuation of flight diverted to Winnipeg

By The Canadian Press   

News Transportation

WestJet says six passengers sustained injuries during an emergency evacuation when one of its flights was diverted to Winnipeg on Monday night due to what the company has only termed "a threat."

The company said all 54 passengers and five crew on Flight WS422 from Edmonton to Toronto were evacuated from the plane shortly after landing.

“The flight crew, in conjunction with our Operations Control Centre, made the decision to divert the aircraft to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport,” Robert Palmer, a public relations spokesman for the company, said in an emailed statement.

“In order to evacuate the aircraft as quickly as possible, the crew made the decision to deploy the emergency evacuation slides. Initial reports indicate six guests received non-life threatening injuries during the evacuation and were treated by emergency response officials on the ground.

“A number were taken to hospital for further treatment, accompanied by members of WestJet’s Special Assistance Team.”

Palmer described that team as “WestJetters who have regular jobs with the airline but who volunteer to receive specialized training to help guests in the event of emergencies.”

The company said after being interviewed by police, passengers would be put up in local hotels for the night and they would be put on flights to Toronto the next morning.

Emergency vehicles dotted the tarmac after the plane landed. As passengers slid down emergency chutes, they were loaded onto buses to be transported to the terminal.

The company would not provide details on the nature of the threat but said late Monday that the plane had been searched and cleared to go back into service following routine maintenance.

“We will not address anything that will be part of the police investigation,” said Palmer.

It’s the third threat involving a flight in the last week.

A WestJet flight from Edmonton to Halifax landed in Saskatoon after a threat Saturday morning.

Police said a call had been made claiming an explosive device was on board but the report turned out to be false.

Last Thursday, St. John’s International Airport was temporarily closed because of a bomb threat on an Air Canada flight.

The airport authority said it took the action after Air Canada Flight 143 departing from St. John’s to Ottawa was notified about a possible bomb on board at about 6:50 p.m. as the aircraft was pulling back from the gate.

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spokesman Steve Curnew told reporters early Friday that the flight was about to leave when a note identified as a possible bomb threat was found in one of the plane’s washrooms.

Nothing suspicious was found in a search of the plane.

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