Plane collision at Toronto Pearson Airport sparks evacuations

WestJet Plane was struck by Sunwing Aircraft.

One of the WestJet  planes that had just arrived in Toronto from Cancun Friday night was struck by a Sunwing aircraft, that lead to flames and prompted an emergency evacuation on a freezing cold night.

WestJet says 168 guests and six crew were aboard flight WS2425 when it was struck by the Sunwing plane shortly after 6 p.m. According to WestJet, the Sunwing aircraft was pushing back from the gate.

Footage shot inside the WestJet plane shows passengers screaming and crying as flames erupt on the Sunwing plane.

Video courtesy Stephen Belford

Those aboard exited the WestJet plane on an emergency slide to frigid conditions outside. Toronto is under an extreme cold warning, with temperatures dropping to -21 C.

The airport confirmed the news. Aviation expert Phyl Durdey said collisions between grounded planes are “pretty rare” because there are typically several crew members guiding an aircraft as it’s being towed.

Photos from the scene show extensive damage sustained to the tail of a Sunwing jetAt least one person is being treated in hospital. An airport spokeswoman said a member of the Toronto Pearson Fire and Emergency Service sustained injuries.

A traveller said passengers didn’t initially understand what happened after the two planes collided, and a few even laughed.

He said, “The plane rocked slightly, and we all looked out the window and we saw the (Sunwing) plane had backed up into us and had rammed their tail end directly into our wing, and it was all cracked and mangled and stuff. And everyone was kind of chuckling about it because it was just kind of crazy.”

“And then suddenly it started spewing this steam. And then it set in that it’s not steam, it’s gas. And then the whole thing ignites and everyone starts panicking. It’s like chaos. Everyone is screaming, standing up. The flight attendants are shouting over a megaphone for everybody to calm down.”

The airport said that airport operations were not significantly affected, and that an investigation is being conducted by the Transportation Safety Board.

WestJet said it is in contact with the Transportation Safety Board, the GTAA and other groups responding to the incident.