First Air investigating more than 300 L fuel spill at Yellowknife Airport

First Air is investigating after the driver of one of its forklifts hit the nozzle of a fuel container with the machine, causing 300 to 400 litres of fuel to spill.

It happened around 9:15 p.m. MT on Apr. 5 at the Yellowknife Airport, says Dan Valin, communications manager for First Air. He says it took company workers about 17 hours to fully clean up the spill.

Valin says fuel containers like these — an aluminum, square barrel — are used to temporarily store fuel that's been offloaded from an aircraft to be used for something else. 

He says the fuel container doesn't always stay in the same spot and typically isn't full of fuel for very long. 

In this case, Valin says the container had 900 litres of fuel in it for about two weeks because First Air was waiting to remove snow from around it. 

Valin says it's not clear why the driver of the forklift hit the fuel container, but says the container "was recognizable."

"It only had some snow on top, the sides were still visible and weren't covered in snow," he said.

Valin says the spill covered about six by 45 metres of the asphalt near the airline's hangar. He says there was "no contamination to vegetation or the ground."

Valin also says the spill didn't affect any flights.