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Quick-thinking Rama man jumps to aid two plane crash victims

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

Dylan McKee

Dylan McKee

Dylan McKee doesn't consider himself a hero, but his quick reaction played an important part in Wednesday's rescue of two men whose plane crashed into a Ramara Township lake.

McKee was at work when he received a call saying a plane had crashed into nearby Lake St. John. The 23-year-old left his job and quickly rushed to his home near the lake to jump in his boat and race out to the small overturned float plane.

"The two guys were each lying on the wings," he said, adding he called out to them to ensure no one was still trapped in the plane. "They were on opposite sides of the fuselage. It was pretty devastating to see."

The men, aged 56 and 50, are believed to be from the area and were attempting to land from the same lake they had earlier departed.

McKee said he used a lifejacket to carefully wrap one of the man's dislocated ankles before gingerly moving him into the boat while another neighbour arrived to help bring the second injured man back to shore.

Carrie Hassberger, chief of paramedic services for Rama First Nation, said her team arrived on scene first and ended up transporting one of the men to Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital with Simcoe County paramedics transporting the other man.

Hassberger, who noted one of the two men is a Ramara Township volunteer firefighter, said calling in an air ambulance for the two men, who suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries, wasn't an option due to the threat of strong thunderstorms.

At least one of the men was eventually taken to a Toronto-area hospital for treatment.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been notified and will also be assisting with the ongoing investigation, however the plane has since sunk and arrangements are now underway to have the plane raised to the surface.

Central Region OPP Sgt. Peter Leon said that effectively means the investigation into what, if anything, may have gone wrong with the plane remains on hold until the aircraft can be hauled to shore from the lake's bottom.

"They attempted to land on the lake and it flipped over," said Leon, who didn't have information on where the men are from or who was piloting the plane.

"They were coming and going out of that airport."

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