What goes up must come down and sometimes it's a bumpy landing.
I took this photo from my porch about a week ago. Not terrific photography, I know. The light was spare and it was in the -30's at the time, so I didn't spend a lot of time trying to get a better shot.
It always amazes me when I see airplanes this enormous on our tiny, unpaved air strip. I had heard, a few days before, that a plane was blown off the runway while landing, but I hadn't realized when I took this photo that this was the plane.
When I got to work the next day, I asked about it and was told that the airplane I'd photographed was a cargo plane that was hit by a 40 mph crosswind just before touchdown. Remember that really windy day I mentioned a while back? That was the day.
As the pilot attempted to land, the right wing dipped suddenly causing the wheels to edge off the air strip onto softer, unpacked snow several feet below. And that drove the prop on the far-right engine into the ground. Ouch!
My photos were taken several days after the accident, days after tireless crews worked with machinery on-hand to haul the aircraft back onto the air strip for assessment and repair. As I understand it, they used bulldozers to pull the plane and a front-end loader to move/remove the damaged engine.
A big thank you to Mel, our plant manager, for donating the following photos from the airport.
Several vehicles were being used as light sources while the work was going on. I am astounded that they were able to do all of this under such challenging conditions.
Notice the engine sitting on the ground!
Being off the road system, this village depends on air transport for just about everything. This particular aircraft was carrying building materials and possibly furniture. It could just as easily have been carrying fuel, a completely different scenario. Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident. In fact, I don't think the cargo was seriously damaged either.
It seems we were blessed with an uneventful ending to what could have been a tragic tale.
My hope is that we never take that for granted.