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Emergency Landing on Lake Sesekinika

by: Johanna Janssen
Not many people know that an airplane landed on Sesekinika, in blizzard conditions. In this story I will tell you all about it.

It must have been fifteen or twenty years ago; I don't remember the exact year, but I know it happened close to Christmas, because I was in my kitchen doing some Christmas baking. On that specific day it was snowing very hard; at times there was a complete white-out. The snow had kept on coming down thick and heavy all day long and the radio warned people to postpone their travels and stay at home. Visibility was very poor.

After I turned off the radio I became aware of the persistent sound of a motor; it sounded like a small airplane circling around in the area. But who would be out flying on a day like this? The sound came and went. I looked out the window, but saw only the swirling snow. The trees, the island, the ice surface of the lake, everything was hidden by the thickly falling snow. The sound of the motor slowly faded away. I went back to my baking. My daughter, Marlene, was helping me in the kitchen. We talked about the possibility of a small aircraft flying around in these kind of weather conditions and decided that the plane must be lost and that the pilot was desperately trying to find a landmark.

After a while we heard the motor again. Judging from the sound, it seemed that the plane was flying much lower. I went outside to listen. Just then the plane came roaring down to land on the lake; I caught a glimpse of it through the snow. The plane passed by our roof, missing the chimney by about three feet. I ducked; it seemed so close, that I was afraid it was going to hit. It touched down on the lake in front of our house and taxied out of sight in the blink of an eye. My husband came running out of his shop, where he had been working, and our son, Eric, from his room upstairs. They jumped on Eric's snowmobile and went after the plane. Within two seconds they also disappeared out of sight.

Marlene and I went back to our cookies; there was nothing to be seen or to be done anyway. After half an hour the snowmobile came back, followed by a Cessna 200. The pilot parked his machine in front of our house, turned off his motor and got out. Then a woman got out from the passenger's side, wearing high heels, a party dress with mini-skirt and a light jacket! She sank to over her ankles into the slushy snow with her high heels. Harry brought them in the house, where the woman dried her feet. I gave her some hot coffee and a chair next to the woodstove in the kitchen, so she could warm up. The couple came from Ville Marie in Quebec and were on their way to Hearst to attend a Christmas party.

They had gotten lost in the snowstorm and had flown around for a few hours, trying to find their bearings. They were almost out of gas. The pilot said his needle was on empty. Harry got out an Ontario map to show the man where he was. They had been lucky to land on Sesekinika, where there are people living, and not on Kapakita or Wewigimok, where they could have frozen to death, with nobody nearby to help them. The pilot asked Harry if he could buy enough gas to bring him to Kirkland Lake Airport. He got that and poured it into his tank. Then he had a heck of a time getting his machine unstuck, because he parked it right in a patch of slush. When the snow finally stopped, just before dark, they flew away and we never saw or heard from them again!!


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