'I don't even remember thinking': Witnesses praised for rushing to plane crash
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 6:55PM EDT
Colleen McKee was sitting in her backyard with a friend when she heard something that didn't sound right.
What she saw was a plane experiencing engine trouble as it headed straight towards Orillia Lake St. John Airport.
“We were hearing the plane overhead and then one of the engines stopped. When it stopped I thought, ‘that is not good.’”
Seconds later she heard a crash. She ran to the waterfront and saw the plane upside down in the lake. She called 911 and then contacted her son, who was at work just metres away.
“I said, ‘get in the lake, get in the boat, get out there. A plane went down.’”
“I ran home and raced to get the boat in the water so I could help. I don't even remember thinking. I just went and went like crazy and tried to help,” says Dylan McKee.
McKee launched the boat from his backyard and took it out into the middle of the lake where the plane was sinking.
The pilot and his passenger were sitting on the wings. McKee was able to get one of the men into his boat.
At the same time, two employees at the Orillia airport rushed to help.
“We just grabbed life-jackets and booked it out there as fast as we could,” says Kenzie Brailey.
When they got there, 16-year-old Chad Williams jumped on the plane to rescue the second man.
“As we did that the airplane started to sink so we had to drag him off the airplane on to the deck of the boat,” he said.
Both boats made it to shore and were met by emergency crews. Both the pilot and passenger remain in hospital with serious injuries, but are expected to make a full recovery.
“Things could have been a lot worse. It would have taken us a few more minutes to get out to them,” says Ramara fire chief Dave McCarthy.
McCarthy says he will forever be thankful for the actions of the rescuers because one of the people in the plane was a firefighter who has been volunteering with the service for 25 years.
The Transportation Safety Board says the recovery of the plane is up to insurance. As for an investigation, the TSB is waiting until the pilot has recovered enough to speak with them.