2 people recovering after small plane crashes and flips over on beach near Tofino, B.C.

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One of the first people at the scene of a plane crash on a remote beach off the west coast of Vancouver Island says the two people on the small aircraft were lucky they weren’t more seriously hurt.

Two planes were travelling together when one of them flipped over while trying to land on Vargas Island around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The pilot and a passenger were on board.

Michael Swan is an emergency coordinator for the nearby Ahousaht First Nation. He was among those who rushed to the beach when a call for help went out over VHF radio.

When he arrived, the two planes were on the beach.

Both had attempted to land on the flat stretch of sand, but one hit a soft patch and flipped over, Swan said.

“The glass was all broken. I don’t know how they got out of the plane. There was very little space to get out,” he said.

Vargas Island rescue

A pilot and one passenger were flown to hospital by a helicopter from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at CFB Comox. (Michael Swan)

‘Kind of lucky’

The two people in the plane received immediate medical care on the beach thanks to other fishing and whale watching boats that responded to the emergency, Swan said.

“Kind of lucky that one of the boats had a doctor that was on holiday,” he said.

“The other boat had two paramedics coming from our village that were actually going back to Tofino when they got the call for help too, so they met us out there.”

The Canadian Coast Guard sent a ship from Tofino, and a helicopter from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at CFB Comox also responded.

The two injured people were flown to hospital in Victoria for treatment of undisclosed injures. The planes were from the Duncan area, Swan said.

Both people who were injured are doing well and are recovering at home from the injuries, said John Howroyd, president of the Duncan Flying Club.

The stretch of beach where the plane flipped over is a popular spot for pilots of small aircraft to land and explore the area, he added.

The Transportation Safety Board said it’s aware of the crash, but will not be deploying officials to conduct an investigation.

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2 people recovering after small plane crashes and flips over on beach near Tofino, B.C.

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