Mil­i­tary pa­trol plane makes emer­gency land­ing in Syd­ney


SYD­NEY — What started out as a rou­tine pa­trol for the crew of a lum­ber­ing Aurora air­craft based out of Green­wood ended with an un­sched­uled land­ing at J.A. Dou­glas McCurdy Syd­ney Air­port, Thurs­day evening, af­ter smoke was de­tected in the cock­pit.

The plane, a CP140 four-en­gine pa­trol air­craft, was car­ry­ing a crew of nine, in­clud­ing Capt. Hi­lary Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh.

She guided the large plane at Syd­ney shortly be­fore 7 p.m., greeted by an army of fire, po­lice, haz­mat and air­port per­son­nel.

“ We no­ticed a very mi­nor smoke prob­lem while on pa­trol ear­lier to­day (Thurs­day) and landed in St. John’s, N.L., as a pre­cau­tion,” Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh said shortly af­ter the plane touched down in Syd­ney.

The air­craft was checked out at St. John’s and deemed safe to con­tinue back to Green­wood.

“The smoke started again en route from New­found­land to Green­wood and we de­cided to di­vert to Syd­ney,” she said. “It was a mi­nor smoke prob­lem.”

Af­ter trans­port per­son­nel were no­ti­fied of the de­ci­sion to reroute to Syd­ney, the air­craft was greeted

The smoke started again en route from New­found­land

to Green­wood and we de­cided to di­vert to Syd­ney.

Capt. Hi­lary Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh

The cause of the smoke was un­de­ter­mined Thurs­day night and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­tin­u­ing.

The crew was put up at a Syd­ney ho­tel and it’s be­lieved they will re­turn to Green­wood some time to­day. It’s un­de­ter­mined whether they will re­turn by the same air­craft or have a sec­ond plane brought in to pick them up. A thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion will be needed on the sus­pect air­craft.

As well, three EHS ve­hi­cles were at the scene. The crew of the by up to 15 fire ve­hi­cles, ac­cord­ing to Re­serve Mines Chief Gary O’Brien. For­tu­nately their as­sis­tance wasn’t needed. Crews from Do­min­ion, Glace Bay, Grand Lake and Re­serve Mines were on the scene for up to two hours.

Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh said the smoke was a dis­trac­tion in the cock­pit but not se­ri­ous enough that vis­i­bil­ity was en­dan­gered. Aurora was checked over by the EHS per­son­nel.

“As you can see every­one is fine,” Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh said.

Staff-Sgt. Ken O’Neil of the Cape Bre­ton re­gional Po­lice Ser­vice said they had sev­eral units on the scene.

The crew ap­peared re­laxed im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the land­ing, de­spite the or­deal. The air­port was all but empty as ner­vous re­sponse crews on the ground awaited the ar­rival of the Aurora. CBRM po­lice sealed off the air­port ex­cept for res­cue per­son­nel.

“ We were so pleased at the tremendous re­sponse by every­one in Syd­ney. We were truly grate­ful by the fire peo­ple, emer­gency re­spon­ders and air­port per­son­nel who greeted us upon our ar­rival,” Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh said.

The Aurora was in­tro­duced to the Cana­dian Mil­i­tary in the early 1980s. They were built at a cost of $24.9 mil­lion each. They weigh ap­prox­i­mately 28,000 lbs. and are a fa­mil­iar sight in the Val­ley area of Nova Sco­tia as a train­ing air­craft.

Dur­ing the emer­gency, a flight car­ry­ing oil work­ers from Al­berta was not per­mit­ted to land at Syd­ney and was de­layed at Monc­ton un­til the all-clear was given. The flight touched down about 8 p.m., only 30 min­utes late.

T.J. Colello - Cape Bre­ton Post

From left, Capt. Hi­lary Har­ris-Ka­vanaugh, Capt. Jan Dou­glas and Capt. Jeff Reeves take a break at the J.A. Dou­glas McCurdy Syd­ney Air­port, Thurs­day night. They’re part of the crew of an Aurora air­craft based out of Green­wood that was forced to make an un­sched­uled land­ing af­ter smoke was de­tected in the plane’s cock­pit.

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