Man leaps from plane near Cambridge Bay

Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:05pm EDT
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VANCOUVER British Columbia (Reuters) - An apparently distraught passenger forced open a door of small plane as it flew at 23,000 feet over Canada's Far North, and leapt to his death, police said on Thursday.

The charter flight with four people on board was headed to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, on Wednesday from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, when the crew issued a distress call about an unruly passenger, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The 20-year-old man was able to force open an exit door and then jump from the aircraft, despite the crew's efforts to stop him, according to police, who did not say what might have sparked the incident.

The two pilots were able to land the Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft safely at Cambridge Bay, a remote community of about 1,500 people where the victim lived. The other passenger was uninjured.

Plane operator Adlair Aviation declined comment, but an official said it had never experienced any incident like it before and the man's death had deeply shocked the close-knit community on Canada's Arctic coast.

The man's remains have not been located, but poor weather in the remote area was hampering search efforts, police said.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)