Tribal council president in float plane that flipped over in Tofino Harbour

Chief survives plane crash

Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council president Judith Sayers was one of four passengers in a float plane that flipped during takeoff in Tofino Harbour Monday morning.

“So very grateful and happy to be alive after being in a float plane crash yesterday off Tofino. Scary experience,” Sayers said in a Twitter post Tuesday morning.

She said she is grateful that her son Cole Sayers and the three others in the plane are safe.

“Life is so precious.”

In the post, Sayers thanked everyone who helped, including the Canadian Coast Guard, the provincial ambulance service, the local hospital and doctors and nurses.

Sayers is a chancellor at Vancouver Island University and past chief and key negotiator with the Hupacasath First Nation. She serves on the board of directors for B.C. Ferries and became a member of the Order of Canada in 2019.

The Cessna float plane was carrying a pilot and four passengers when it flipped at 11:40 a.m. during takeoff.

A spokesperson for Atleo River Air Services said the plane hit a large boat wake, went into the air prematurely and then tipped over on its nose.

Everyone managed to get out of the plane and was checked over by medical personnel.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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