A plane crash near the border by Christina Lake last Wednesday, July 15, had emergency crews running around.
Christina Lake Fire Rescue responded to the call but were called off, said chief Ken Gresley-Jones.
“We were called out to a possible motor vehicle accident or a possible plane crash on the Santa Rosa (old Cascade Highway),” said Gresley-Jones. “We got part way up and we were advised that they had received word that the plane may have crashed at the end of the Grand Forks Airport runway but it was unconfirmed and to carry on.”
Gresley-Jones said they saw an ambulance coming the other direction about 16 kilometres in.
“I asked him what the heck they were doing here and he said the crash was actually at the Cascade-Laurier border,” said Gresley-Jones, who turned around at that point. “I wasn’t happy with the fact that the ambulance service knew and the fire service didn’t. There was a little bit of a communication failure there. We had the entire fleet of fire vehicles heading up that road in case it was a forest fire.”
He added that they had one fire engine approach the border but couldn’t cross unless requested by mutual aid.
“Moments later we were requested by mutual aid but we (found out later) were cancelled before we got there by B.C. Ambulance,” said Gresley-Jones. “They said the patient was out with minor injuries and no rescue was required.”
Gresley-Jones said he didn’t think calling off the fire rescue vehicles was a good decision as there was fuel in the bush which should have been addressed.
“Which it was by the U.S. fire department but they were quite a bit further down the road than we were,” he said.
Gresley-Jones said the Avey Airport, which is no longer considered active other than for emergencies, straddles the U.S./Canada border and is unattended. “The guy landed on the Canadian side and taxied down across the actual border into the U.S. side and ran off the runway,” he said.
Avey Airport has a 600X12 foot gravel runway and is located right near the border crossing by Laurier, Washington.
Preet Grewal, communications officer for B.C. Ambulance (BCAS), said they received a call at 1:09 p.m. on July 15 of a plane crash near Highway 395 in Ponderosa.
“BCAS paramedics transported one patient in stable condition to Boundary Hospital,” she said.
Grewal would not confirm whether BCAS called off the fire rescue crew from Christina Lake.
No information has been released about the pilot’s identity.