Precautionary engine shutdown on northern Sask. medevac flight forces early landing

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A Transwest Air plane sits at the Prince Albert Airport in a 2015 file photo. A Transwest Air medevac plane had to make an unscheduled landing in Prince Albert on Saturday. (Transwest Air - image credit)
A Transwest Air plane sits at the Prince Albert Airport in a 2015 file photo. A Transwest Air medevac plane had to make an unscheduled landing in Prince Albert on Saturday. (Transwest Air - image credit)

Abnormal engine readings led to a medevac flight transporting a patient making an unscheduled landing on Saturday, according to the airline operating the flight.

Transwest Air said in a news release that at about 12:24 p.m. CST, flight dispatch received a radio call from the crew on a flight from Stony Rapids, near the border with the Northwest Territories, to Saskatoon, about 800 kilometres to the south.

Transwest president and CEO Derek Nice said the crew noticed strange readings coming from one of the two engines. There were two crew members, the patient and two EMS workers aboard, he said.

"The crew decided to initiate the shutdown as a result of the readings that we were getting from the engine. So the engine is now being investigated by our maintenance," Nice said in an interview.

"We'll understand a little bit better about what the cause of the of the readings was shortly."

The crew landed the plane without incident at 12:35 p.m. CST in Prince Albert. No one was injured, and the patient was taken the remaining way to Saskatoon by ambulance.

The Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada were both informed of the incident. Nice said Transwest has also initiated a "safety management system" investigation.

"We use that to identify what the root causes of the problem are and if it is appropriate, we will expect all other engines as well," Nice said. "We'll take whatever action we need to as a result of that investigation."

Nice said he isn't sure how common precautionary engine shutdowns like this are in the industry but said they take an abundance of caution while in flight.