Water Bomber Makes Emergency Landing In Canada

July 19, 2004
A water bomber battling forest fires in northern Alberta made an emergency landing on a remote stretch of gravel highway Sunday morning.
EDMONTON (CP) -- A water bomber battling forest fires in northern Alberta made an emergency landing on a remote stretch of gravel highway Sunday morning.

The CL-215, a large yellow skimmer plane, had just finished hauling water from Wadlin Lake for a fire east of Fort Vermilion when it blew one of its two engines and was forced to land on Highway 88, said RCMP Const. Shaun Haubrick.

The pilot was not injured.

The aircraft, about 28 metres wide and nine metres tall, blocked the remote stretch of road between Red Earth Creek and Fort Vermilion, about 400 kilometres north of Edmonton.

Haubrick said the highway would continue to be closed off to traffic until Monday, when the plane's engine would hopefully be repaired or a new one brought in to replace it.

The plane is one of 34 bombers that Alberta Sustainable Resources has hired to fight fires in the province, said Rick Strickland with Alberta Sustainable Resources.

``Investigation teams are going in to determine the cause of the emergency landing,'' said Strickland.

The CL-215 is amphibious and can land on water or land, but Rick Pedersen of Conair Group Inc. said the pilot landed on the highway because there wasn't a suitable lake in the vicinity.

``It was a fairly lengthy piece of straight road,'' Pedersen said.

Pedersen said the plane was not damaged during the emergency landing. He said the aircraft is expected to take off from the highway on Monday.

More than 100 fires were burning in northern Alberta on Sunday, 38 of which were out of control.

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