Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tragedy in Nunavut

I was greatly saddened today to learn of the crash of the First Air Boeing 737 near Resolute, Nunavut earlier today. The plane, one of six 737's in the First Air fleet, apparently encountered some sort of trouble on approach to the runaway at Resolute on a flight from Yellowknife; of 15 passengers and crew, 12 were killed; the other three are in hospital in Iqaluit as of the latest reports.

Nunavut is a vast land. But its population is only around 30,000, making it in many ways more like a town when it comes to who knows who. When I heard the news of the crash, I had that sickening feeling that someone I knew, or was connected with someone I knew, was probably aboard. And this turned out to be true; among the passengers were two granddaughters of Aziz "Ozzy" Kheraj, proprietor of the South Camp Inn in Resolute; one of them is among the survivors. Also on board, and apparently among the dead, was Randy Reid, the longtime cook at the South Camp Inn, whose wonderful cuisine was a great feature of the place. I was a guest at the South Camp in 2004, and enjoyed both the excellent food and the delightful, irascible presence of Ozzy, a true northern character whose career has taken him from the tropics to the Arctic. Word on others aboard has not made it through to the news services, but I have a feeling and the fear that, when the list is released, there may be other familiar names. My thoughts and feelings go out to all those affected in this vast, outspread town known as Nunavut.


  1. I've been through Resolute and stayed at the South Camp many times. I've had the privilege of meeting Aziz and so my thoughts are with him, his family and the community of Resolute this evening.

  2. I just heard that Martin Bergmann, the head of Polar Shelf, is among the casualties ... it's very sad.

    The strangest thing is that, although small planes flown by bush pilots into remote areas have, at times, been lost due to unknown factors, it's so very rare for a plane of this size, with so many aboard, to go down so close to home.

  3. Just saw this news here on your site. Truly sad. Those pilots up there have uncommon talent. After doing instrument approaches up there I can appreciate the risks these pro's take day in and day out when many times not given the choice to sit it out and stay on the ground. Weather, especially low fog, and conditions in the arctic - it's tough business.