Tribal council president in float plane that flipped near Tofino, BC

From City News 1130 – link to source story


Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, was among five people aboard a float plane that flipped near Tofino on July 26, 2021. (Courtesy:


  • Judith Sayers and her son Cole were aboard a float plane that crashed shortly after takeoff
  • Cole says his mother’s head was under water after the aircraft flipped
  • It’s unclear what caused the crash; Transport Canada investigating

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Upside down and partially submerged the water, Cole Sayers managed to save both himself and his mother Monday when the float plane they were on flipped and crashed near Tofino.

Cole and this mother, Judith Sayers, who is the president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, were among five people aboard the aircraft bound for Hesquiaht.

“We lifted off for about three to five seconds and then came down. We flipped forward … and were upside down,” he recalled.

Cole unbuckled his seatbelt and immediately went to check on his mom.

“Her head was submerged underwater. She was struggling to breathe and struggling to get her seatbelt off,” he explained.

He and others lifted her up so she could get some air.

“There was water coming in. At first, I was scared because I thought that we were in deep water. But fortunately, we were still in relatively shallow water,” he recalled.

They managed to get her seatbelt off, but they were immediately faced with another challenge, as the doorway was partially blocked.

“I went around onto the plane and helped get her out,” Cole said, adding the Coast Guard was already there to help.

He says he’s thankful everyone survived, and are recovering with cuts and bruises.

“We’re still in shock. We still can’t believe it happened. You don’t expect these things to happen,” he said.

It’s not clear what caused the crash, but Transport Canada is investigating.

“Thank goodness we were in shallow water so that we didn’t have to do that underwater. I don’t think that we’d be able to,” Cole said.