Naomi shocked bystander as plane crashes

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

LOCAL athlete Naomi Schouten was among shocked bystanders who witnessed a plane carrying 309 passengers careen off a runway in Canada and burst into flames earlier this week.

In Canada for an international wheelchair basketball tournament, Naomi (pictured right) was due to fly out of Toronto when the accident occurred.

'When we were getting off the bus to go into the airport the storm was really scary,' Naomi said from Sydney after arriving back in Australia yesterday.

'There was lightning striking like a couple of hundred metres away, it was crazy.'

Early media reports had suggested the plane may have been struck by lightning from the storm, however investigations have not yet been completed.

It has been described as a miracle that no one was killed after the plane was gutted from the explosion.

Naomi said the first they knew of the accident was after seeing smoke billowing from the end of the runway.

'We saw all this smoke and didn't know what was going on and then we found out about the plane,' Naomi said.

Due to fly out to Vancouver, the flight Naomi was to take had already been delayed due to the storm.

'The flight was delayed, but then after the plane crashed the whole airport was shut down and we had to spend the night,' she said.

Naomi rang her mother Lynne from the airport to tell her of the crash.

'I was a little worried, but I think it was more an inconvenience for her,' she said.



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