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FLOOD UPDATE: Buffalo Airways sends fourth cargo plane to Fort Simpson


A fourth cargo flight from Buffalo Airways arrived in the Village of Fort Simpson Saturday evening with pallets of food and other supplies to assist in the flood emergency.

Some of the Buffalo Airways helpers were at the Express hangar on Saturday afternoon receiving donations from Yellowknife grocery stores and shipping them off by airplane. Among them were, from left, first officer Reid Swenson, manager of business development Sandy Macpherson, president Joe McBryan and cargo manager Mike Dunn.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Joe McBryan, president of the airline, said he's happy to continue to assist as some of his employees gathered items on skids and loaded them onto an awaiting plane.

Saturday's flight was the fourth since Wednesday, McBryan said.

"I went on the first one because I know the area and the people," he said, noting decades of helicopter and plane service he has provided to the region.

Buffalo Airways president Joe McBryan stands with his pilots responsible for shipping food and supplies to the Village of Fort Simpson this past week, including on Saturday. With McBryan are Sarah Mousseau, Ian Bottomley and Kane Boklaschuk.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

"So I know most of the people and they have been very good to us and are very down to Earth. We donated the first flight, really just to get the ball rolling," said McBryan.

He said more than five tonnes, or 11,602 lbs of goods were sent to the community on Saturday. Items included about 200 independently prepared hampers for families.

Although he said he has involved in providing many types of emergency cargo assistance over the years - including for floods and forest fires - he said this emergency is unlike other floods he has seen in the past.

Tyrone McClean, forklift operator, loads a skid of food and supplies into a Buffalo Airways cargo plane. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Food and supplies came from the Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-op and Rochdi Independent Grocer.

Loblaws provided a statement on behalf of Yellowknife's Rochdi's Your Independent Grocer confirming the store has been helping those affected by the flood.

"Rochdi Mortada, the owner of Rochdi’s Your Independent Grocer in Yellowknife, has been in contact with local officials to offer support and has already donated essential items including water," Loblaws stated on Saturday afternoon.

"The store will continue to work closely with officials, as well as other businesses to get the community the additional support they need during this difficult time."
Travis Rice, an aircraft refueler at Det'on Cho Logistics, was on site with a truckload delivery of about two pallets of groceries, which included fresh produce.
Village of Fort Simpson Mayor Sean Whelly posted to Facebook that the items arrived safely and that the community was very grateful for the donation.
"Whole bunch of stuff just came in," Whelly wrote. "Thanks to MACA and their staff (we didn’t forget you Mike Drake) in Yellowknife for the care packages (full of treats with the big red heart).
Pallets of goods arrive in Fort Simpson on Saturday.
photo submitted
"Also thank you so much to the Independent Store in Yellowknife who got us another big load of packaged meats and other goods too plentiful to mention. Another big donation to our community, it is so appreciated. Flown over by Buffalo Airways."