Student's plane crash survival a 'miracle'

Carleton University student Nicole Williamson survived the Aug. 20 plane crash that killed 12...

Carleton University student Nicole Williamson survived the Aug. 20 plane crash that killed 12 people just outside Resolute Bay. (Supplied photo)

AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 PM ET

OTTAWA - The family of a 23-year-old Carleton University student who was rescued from a deadly Arctic plane crash is calling her survival a "miracle in the midst of tragedy."

Nicole Williamson of Halifax, N.S., was one of three survivors of a First Air flight that crashed near a Resolute Bay airstrip in Nunavut while attempting to land on Saturday. Four crew members and eight passengers were killed.

Ottawa Hospital officials confirmed that Williamson, a masters student studying geoscience, remains in hospital awaiting surgery for a leg injury she suffered in the crash.

Williamson's family -- parents Mark and Marie-Claude and brothers Sebastien and Gabriel -- issued a statement Tuesday saying Nicole is still in pain and her recovery is "critically dependent" on rest and healing of bruises and cuts suffered in the crash.

"Nicole wishes to express her deepest gratitude to the members of the Canadian Forces, Operation Nanook, and to the Resolute Bay responders present at the crash site for their efficiency under the circumstances," the family said in the statement.

"Nicole is also thankful to the staff and visitors she met in the next 24 hours at the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit; and to the Medevac team who brought her home (to Ottawa) on Sunday night."

The family said their thoughts and prayers were with the families and friends of the twelve people killed in the "tragic accident," and with the two other survivors who are also recovering in Ottawa hospitals.

Gabrielle Pelky, 7, was airlifted to CHEO, while 48-year-old Robin Wyllie is being treated at the Ottawa Hospital.

"We send our heartfelt thanks to all Canadians who share our relief and wonder at this miracle in the midst of tragedy," the family said.

Among the interests listed on Williamson's Facebook page are the Natkusiak flood basalts, the remnants of a 720 million-year-old volcanic event found on Victoria Island.

The site is located across the Northwest Passage from Resolute Bay, but it is uncertain whether Williamson was in the area for her studies.

Carleton University officials declined to comment, citing privacy.


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