Capt. Darren Blakie was flying a CF-18 to CFB Cold Lake, and was trying to land when something went wrong. He was able to eject from the twin-engine aircraft just before it went down in a field.
"At approximately seven miles [11 kilometres] from landing, something happened and the pilot was forced to eject out of the aircraft," CBC News
quoted Capt. Keith Hoey of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Trenton, in Ontario, as saying.
"We're not sure what it was. At this time, it would be purely speculative."
Blakie was rescued by a military helicopter crew about two hours later, after he set off a flare to alert them to his location.
Capt. Nicole Meszaros, a spokeswoman at CFB Cold Lake, said the rescue crew and the RCMP worked together to find Blakie and the plane. She said it was about –13 C when the plane crashed; with the wind chill making it feel like –22 C.
"One thing about flying in northern Alberta, our pilots are well-equipped and well-trained to deal with the elements, so when they go flying, they certainly wear the right military equipment to ensure their safety in the event of a crash," the CBC
quoted her as saying,
"We have an extensive program run by our flight safety staff on the base. Cold weather is something that members of the Canadian Forces operate in."
A flight safety team from National Defence Headquarters will examine the wreckage of the aircraft to try and learn what went wrong.
A CF-18 also crashed in Alberta in July, during an air show. That pilot also survived.