A woman on board Air Canada Express Flight 8481 is lucky to be alive after the plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Edmonton International Airport. Shortly after take-off, passengers heard a loud bang that turned out to be a blown tire. Because of wind conditions the captain announced they would be forced to try to land at Edmonton.
Christina Kurylo was seated in a window seat as the plane began its shaky landing. The landing gear collapsed as it made contact with the runway, and suddenly something crashed through Kurylo’s window and hit her in the head. It was a propeller blade that had snapped off the engine and sliced through the fuselage. The accident could have killed her— instead she was left covered in shattered plexiglass, with bruises and a lump on her head.
Kurylo was taken to a waiting ambulance and transported to a hospital. She suffered a concussion, sore neck, and bruises to her head and shoulders, but was allowed to go home after six hours in the hospital.
“I’m lucky it wasn’t worse,” she told The Globe and Mail.
As the landing gear deployed and emergency crews waited on the runway, the plane started rattling as it made contact with the ground. The landing gear collapsed and the plane tilted to the right. The plane was sparking from the undercarriage as it dragged across the tarmac. Fellow passenger—and coworker to Kurylo— Melissa Menard likened the feeling to being in a car that was about to roll.
When the plane finally stopped the cabin filled with smoke and forced an immediate evacuation. Kurylo said her recollections of what happened during the evacuation were fuzzy.
“After I got hit, I was kind of confused… It’s bits and pieces for me,” she said. Ultimately, it was her seatmate, a man named Mike, who pulled her out of the plane to safety.
The plane is a Bombardier twin-engine Q400, and was leaving Calgary headed for Grande Prairie Alberta.
Kurylo was one of 71 people on board the flight, including four crew members.
A spokeswoman for Jazz Aviation said that four passengers were sent to the hospital after the crash, but that they were all treated for non-life-threatening injuries.