Survivors of a plane crash that killed 24 people in central Canada said Saturday the Air Ontario jet seemed to lack sufficient power as it took off in a snowstorm and had been forced to reduce weight by dumping fuel at a previous stop.
Authorities found the bodies of 22 victims Saturday in the charred wreckage in a forest about half a mile from the runway at the Dryden airport. Two other people died in hospitals after Friday's crash.At least 24 people, including one American and three of four crew members on the plane, were killed in the Friday afternoon crash of Air Ontario Flight 363, a Fokker F-28 jet bound for Winnipeg, Manitoba, with 65 passengers, officials said.
Norm Pascoe, a spokesman for Transport Canada, the government transportation agency in Ottawa, said there was heavy snow at the time of the crash and visibility was less than a mile.
There was no official speculation about the cause of the crash, but passenger Ron Mandich of Green Bay, Wis., who suffered facial burns, whiplash and a fractured arm, said the plane seemed to be laboring as went down the runway and lifted from the ground.
"I remember saying, `Oh, Lord, this could be the time I meet you, but I just don't really think so,"' Mandich said. "And the fellow next to me was hysterical. He was thrashing and hollering and he was really out of his mind.
"It just seemed like there wasn't enough power there to make it go," Mandich said. "I didn't know if it was because there was something wrong with the engines or if the plane was too heavy. I think it was the plane being too heavy."
Susan Godin, 34, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, who survived the crash along with her husband Dan, 37, and daughters Lori, 15, and Danielle, 11, told United Press International earlier that the plane's takeoff from Thunder Bay was delayed because it had to unload fuel to reduce weight.
The plane, filled to capacity, had taken on additional fuel in Dryden before taking off for Winnipeg, Godin said.