Tim Hortons co-founder OK after plane crash at Fox Harb'r
FOX HARBOUR - While his newest plane may be a writeoff, Ron Joyce is happy to be alive after being involved in a plane crash at his Fox Harb'r Resort on Sunday.
"It was like a motor vehicle accident it happened so fast. It scared the hell out of me," the 77-year-old Tim Hortons co-founder told reporters while standing on the tarmac of his private airstrip. "We were sitting in the back. It was a beautiful flight in a beautiful airplane and we had an accident."
Joyce said he's heartbroken about the potential loss of the plane that he just took ownership of a couple of months ago, but pleased there were no fatalities or serious injuries.
"I am heartbroken about the airplane, but I'm also happy that all my senior staff are OK," he said. "It was an awful experience, but so is an automobile accident."
Joyce said the plane was flown by senior pilots, one of whom is still recovering in hospital. He also denied there are any problems with his airstrip.
"They were two senior pilots with an exceptional piece of equipment. I planned on doing a lot of travelling with it and it's good for the business we're involved in. Whether they can repair it, I don't know. It will be a long time before it's flying again, if it can be repaired."
Yves Jolicoeur from the Transportation Safety Board said the Bombardier Global Express 5000 touched down just short of the runway at the resort.
The plane, owned by Joyce's holding company, Jetport, left Hamilton, Ont. at 11:30 a.m. ET en route to Fox Harb'r. It was carrying two crew and eight passengers on their way to attend a meeting at the luxury resort near Wallace.
"It contacted the lip of the runway and at that point because the impact exceeded the maximum structural limit of the gear and the gear collapsed," he said. "The aircraft slid on its belly until it left the right side of the runway. It started rotating about 90 degrees clockwise and came to rest about 1,000 feet from where it touched down."
Jolicoeur said the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorded have already been removed from the plane by transportation safety board officials and sent for analysis in Ottawa.
"The equipment is very modern so we expect to get quite a bit of good information in a couple days," Jolicoeur said, adding investigators will gather as much information as possible so they can find out what happened, how it happened and how it can be prevented form occurring again.
He said investigators will look at all aspects of the crash including weather and runway conditions. It was raining at the time of the incident and very windy.
Joyce isn't sure what happened and said there was no indication anything was wrong before landing.
"What happened I guess is the plane dug in and spun around," he said, admitting it could have been pilot error or it could have been the wind. "The wind was blowing right down the runway."