A plane crash killed several people in northwestern Ontario in the North Spirit Lake area Tuesday morning.

Five people, including the pilot, were on board.

Officials in the community said four died in the crash while a fifth person survived.

The Keystone Air plane flew out of Winnipeg around 7 a.m. and crashed around 10 a.m. on Jan. 10.

The survivor, 36-year-old Brian Shead, was transported to Winnipeg for treatment.

His wife Tracy said when she first learned of the crash, it was initially believed her husband didn't survive.

"Complete and utter shock and tears – I didn't know what I was going to do," she said.

Then the news arrived that her husband had in fact survived.

"Very, very relieved and I can't wait to see him," said Tracey. Her husband was transported Tuesday afternoon to Health Sciences Centre for treatment.

She said Shead suffered a broken ankle and fractured face but a doctor said his vital signs were good and he was conscious.

The North Spirit Lake community is located about 400 kilometres north of Dryden, Ont.

Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to be in trouble as it approached the airport in the North Spirit Lake area.

The pilot was among the four killed. Three other passengers, including Brian Shead, worked at Aboriginal Strategies Inc. in Winnipeg, an administrative service for First Nations.

North Spirit Lake's school principal Eric Feldman said one of the crash victims was the daughter of the school's kindergarten teacher.

Feldman said the aircraft was on fire and people on the ground ran to help following the crash.

"We don't have any emergency equipment at all…so they were trying to put out the flames with snow," said Feldman.

Community members reported the plane trying to land in whiteout, blizzard conditions. It crashed on a lake northeast of the community's airport.

The Transportation Safety Board said it does not yet know what caused the crash.

"Snow showers are localized phenomena – whether there was one at this point, we just don't know," said Peter Hildebrand from the TSB.

Because there are no black boxes in the type of plane, a Piper Navajo, that crashed, the TSB will be relying on witnesses and the crash survivor for information.

Keystone Air said Tuesday the weather was acceptable for flying, based on weather reports. It couldn't yet say whether there were any mechanical problems with the plane.

Similar Keystone planes have crash landed in Manitoba before.

One plane crashed in Assiniboine Forest in Winnipeg in November 2000. Eight people were on board and all survived.

Another crash was reported at Logan Avenue and McPhillips Street in Winnipeg in June 2002. A 79-year-old man died from injuries three months after the crash. The pilot was convicted of dangerous operation of an aircraft.

Investigators from the TSB were slated to arrive in the North Spirit Lake community on Jan. 11 to begin examining the crash scene there. 

- with a report from CTV's Jeff Keele and files from The Canadian Press