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Updated: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 19:57:18 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Grand Manan plane crash kills pilot, paramedic



A chartered air ambulance crashed near the airport in Grand Manan on Saturday, killing two of the four people on board. Shane Fowler/CBC

A chartered air ambulance crashed near the airport in Grand Manan on Saturday, killing two of the four people on board. Shane Fowler/CBC

A pilot and a paramedic were killed Saturday when their small chartered plane crashed on Grand Manan Island, N.B.

Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB) said the Atlantic Charters flight carrying four people crashed in a wooded area near the airport shortly after 5 a.m.

A second pilot and a registered nurse survived the crash.

ANB confirmed the paramedic who died was William Mallock. He had almost 20 years of service.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of those whose lives were lost – an Ambulance New Brunswick paramedic and a pilot from Atlantic Charters," said a statement released by ANB.

"William, or Billy as he was known by his friends, and the pilot lost their lives serving the public and helping patients. We also want to express our sympathies and the hope for a speedy and complete recovery to the two others that suffered injuries in the accident."

A search-and-rescue helicopter was dispatched to the site. Capt. Liam Mather, a defence department spokesman, said one survivor was taken to Grand Manan Hospital.

"The other one's injuries were determined to be too extensive for treatment at Grand Manan so the Cormorant helicopter assisted with a medevac to Saint John Regional Hospital," he told CBC News.

The RCMP said both survivors were taken to Saint John, and both were in serious but stable condition at the time.

Ambulance New Brunswick said the plane had dropped off a patient at Saint John Regional Hospital and was returning to Grand Manan when it crashed.

There were no patients on board the plane, a Piper PA-31, at the time.

'We are devastated'

“We are devastated by this incident,” Paul Ward, interim president of Ambulance New Brunswick, said in a statement.

The paramedic who died worked for Ambulance New Brunswick and the pilot worked for Atlantic Charters, which has the contract to provide air service to Grand Manan.

John McGarry, CEO of the Horizon Health Network, tweeted "our thoughts and prayers are with those involved, and their families, in the Grand Manan plane crash. So tragic."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he and his wife, Laureen, offered their "deepest condolences" to the families.

Rick Doucet said he's been in contact with the families of the victims. The MLA for Fundy-The Isles-Saint John West plans to head to the island later Saturday.

"It affects every single person, without a doubt," Doucet said. "Everyone right now is in disbelief and shock as to what's taken place. They've lost a couple of very close members of their community. You know, at times like this they'll be comforting each other."

Atlantic Charters is run by pilot Klaus Sonnenberg. Ed Shaw, a former Grand Manan resident, credits Sonnenberg and his team with saving his life.

"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him and his co-pilot and nurse that got me off the island and got me to Saint John so that they could do something with me," Shaw said.

TSB investigating

The crash happened near the airport, not far from where Atlantic Charters is based.

​Paul Ward, with Ambulance New Brunswick, said it's too early to say what happened.

The Transportation Safety Board is sending two people to the crash site. They will stop at the Saint John hospital to try to interview the crash survivors before heading to the island, a spokesman said.

Sharing grief

Many people are expressing their shock and sadness on social media. Some are using #LODD, which means "line of duty death."

Medevac services continue

Ambulance New Brunswick said its air ambulance service would continue despite Saturday's tragedy.

This is the second paramedic to die in New Brunswick in two years.

In March 2013, Mike Harborne was killed in a house fire in Dieppe. He was off-duty at the time.

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