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Delta plane that slid off runway grounded again at Saskatoon airport

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Passengers who were rebooked on another flight after their Delta Air Lines plane slid off the runway at Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport this morning have found themselves grounded once again after the same plane experienced a mechanical problem.

A passenger tweeted that the plane — set to depart Saskatoon for Minneapolis this afternoon — was delayed upon takeoff.

CJ Dushinski, with Skyxe Saskatoon Airport Authority, confirmed that there was a mechanical issue with the aircraft, calling it “bad luck.” 

“It’s an airline issue,” she said.

Layne Watson, a spokesperson with SkyWest Airlines, which operated the Delta flight, said that the plane was moving when the pilot braked due to a “mechanical indication.” The mechanical problem was unrelated to this morning’s incident, he clarified. 

“First and foremost, we apologize to [passengers] for the inconvenience,” he said.

Watson said the airline was rebooking the passengers on a flight set to depart at 9 a.m. CST on Saturday, with the potential for an earlier flight leaving at 6:15 a.m. The airline would be providing overnight lodging to those that needed it.

When asked about potential compensation, Watson said that Delta would reach out to passengers on that front.  

The passengers had already been rebooked after their Delta plane slid off the runway while departing at 6:30 a.m. Friday. None of the crew or the 74 passengers aboard were injured.

Passengers said the plane gently slid off the concourse and got stuck in the grass.

“I didn’t even notice because it was really smooth,” said passenger Nicole Pylypchuk. “I thought we were just stuck for a bit, but then an hour went by.”

A bus eventually took the travellers back to the main terminal. 

By late morning, the main concern for passengers was delayed connections to other flights. Many were travelling through Minneapolis to other locations. 

Nicole Pylypchuk said her main concern was making her connecting flights on her way to Mexico. (Omayra Issa/CBC)

“I wasn’t scared on the plane,” said Pylypchuk. “I’m scared now because I want to make it onto my trip on time.”

Freezing rain had created slippery conditions at the Saskatoon airport. Travel was not recommended on many Saskatoon highways at the time.

Saskatoon passengers wait in line to rebook connecting flights after their plane skidded off the taxiway. (Omayra Issa/CBC)

“We are in a normal operating scenario for the pavement surfaces here,” said airport authority CEO Stephen Maybury earlier in the day. “That said, it’s rapidly changing icing conditions and windy out there, particularly toward the shoulder and the outside of the runway surface.”

Maybury later told reporters that the airport is constantly monitoring tarmac conditions, and working to keep it clear of snow and ice. In this case, the plane lost directional control and had a wheel go off-course.

“This is not a high speed incident, this is not a landing incident,” he said. “This is a taxiing incident — and even a slow taxiing incident to manoeuvre the aircraft for departure.”

Despite the mishap, the airport was able to keep up its normal operations throughout the morning by using its secondary runway, he said.

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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