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Five die in plane crash in Northwestern Ontario

Five people are dead after a Bearskin Airlines plane crashed on approach to the Red Lake airport in northwestern Ontario and burst into flames.

Two people survived the crash of the twin-engine turboprop just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Ontario Provincial Police said.

The two pilots were among those killed, said Sgt. Rob McDonough at the provincial police communications centre in Thunder Bay.

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The survivors were identified as a 29-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, both from Winnipeg.

"The one male was actually the one that called us to report the crash. He was able to pull the woman out of the wreckage prior to it becoming fully engulfed in flames," McDonough said.

The two were taken by ambulance to hospital where McDonough said they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He noted the man was able to walk to the ambulance, while the woman appeared to have suffered a back injury.

During the crash McDonough said the 19-passenger aircraft knocked down some Hydro lines.

"The plane was totally destroyed by the flames," he said. "Upon impact it burst into flames and then set bush around it on fire as well."

A local fire crew quickly doused the flames in both the plane and the woods, he added.

Provincial police issued a release early Monday, saying the names of the deceased would be released after their next of kin were notified.

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The plane had taken off from Sioux Lookout, Ont., on a flight to Red Lake, 270 kilometres north of Kenora, and about 100 kilometres east of the Manitoba boundary.

There's no word yet on the cause of the crash, but McDonough said Transportation Safety Board investigators from Winnipeg were expected to arrive at the site Monday afternoon.

Bearskin Airlines is based in Sioux Lookout and has operated since 1963, employing 300 people in Ontario and Manitoba.

Its fleet of 16 Metro Fairchild planes serve 18 destinations in the two provinces.

In May, 1995 a Bearskin aircraft collided with a Piper Navajo near the Sioux Lookout airport, killing all eight people on board the two planes.

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