Passengers were evacuated from a WestJet plane on one of the coldest nights in Toronto’s history after two planes collide on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport on Friday night.
WestJet says one of its flights, inbound from Cancun, Mexico, with 168 passengers and a crew of six, was stationary and waiting to go to a gate when it was struck by a Sunwing aircraft moving back from a gate.
Passengers on the WestJet flight were evacuated, CBC reports, and a firefighter responding to the scene was sent to the hospital after his face was exposed to a chemical, possibly antifreeze. A spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority told CBC that the firefighter was released and is expected to make a complete recovery.
Spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the WestJet passengers were evacuated from the aircraft via emergency slides and all were safely in the terminal and clearing customs shortly after the collision.
"Due to the position of the aircraft on the laneway, WestJet guests required evacuation via emergency slide. Emergency crews were on hand and responded immediately," Westjet said in a statement.
The evacuation took place as temperatures in Toronto dropped to minus 21 degrees Celsius, which is the equivalent of minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit, BBC News reported. Sunwing said there were no crew members or passengers aboard its aircraft. It was being towed by the airline's ground handling service provider at the time of the incident.
A few hours later, shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, a similar collision occurred at New York’s JFK International Airport, when the wing of a China Southern plane clipped the tail of a Kuwait Airways aircraft. Both planes sustained damage during the collision, according to NBC News. The China Southern aircraft was being towed and carried no passengers during the time of the incident. The Kuwait plane was parked at the gate awaiting takeoff when it was struck by the other plane. Reportedly, none of the Kuwait passengers were injured.