Thursday, July 30, 2009

Did something crash in the Ottawa River?


OTTAWA - What crashed in to the Ottawa River at about 10 p.m. on Monday? That is the question rescue services are trying to answer this morning as they search a stretch of water near the Deschenes Rapids.

Dozens of witnesses are reporting they saw lights and heard a loud bang, or other noises, at about 10 p.m. Some thought it might be a small plane crashing. Others wonder if it was just fireworks. One witness speculates it could have been a meteorite.

Their calls sent emergency crews from Ottawa and Gatineau racing to the area, and sparked a search which lasted several hours before being called off. This morning, crews are back on the river, including a search and rescue chopper from CFB Trenton.

"We heard a very loud sound, the first time I heard something that loud," said Lola Saadi, who lives in Parkway Towers not far from the river edge.

Police said their original reports were that something appeared to be hitting the water just before 10 p.m. in the area of the Ottawa River Parkway near the Britannia Yacht Club and the Deschenes Rapids.

A search crew Monday night spotted something in the water and police Tuesday were investigating to see if it was anything significant. Otherwise, there is no physical evidence of an aircraft crash.

Const. Alain Boucher, spokesman for Ottawa police, said there were enough credible reports to send rescue and recovery resources to the river.

Just before noon Wednesday, police were preparing to send out sonar equipment. The river in the area is between four feet and about 23 feet.

This morning fire department boats, as well as the Ottawa police marine unit, joined by Gatineau police, are involved in the search. Ottawa police weren't sure if they would be able to send divers in because the current might be too strong. Officers do have an underwater camera on the boat.

Other witnesses offered varying thoughts about what they saw and heard.

"Around 10 p.m. I heard a noise sounded like a loud bang," said Bill Fung, who lives along McEwen St. overlooking the Ottawa River Parkway. "My roommate said that could be an explosion from fireworks."

"I too heard a very loud bang preceded by a brief whistling noise which made me think, at first, that it was fireworks," said Jeffrey Vachon, who lives near the river in Aylmer. "However, I strongly suspect that what occurred was not a plane crash but rather a meteroite hitting somewhere near the Deschenes Rapids/Ottawa River area."

He said the noises were so loud it sounded "as if it happened next door from my home."

Paramedics at the scene last night during the first search said they had multiple eyewitnesses report they heard a big bang and saw an explosion over the water.

Source: Check there for updates.

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