Newspaper article The Canadian Press

TSB Blames Pilot Error, Bad Weather for Deadly B.C. Float Plane Crash

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

TSB Blames Pilot Error, Bad Weather for Deadly B.C. Float Plane Crash

Article excerpt

Pilot, weather blamed for plane crash: report


VANCOUVER - The Transportation Safety Board is calling for stricter safety measures for the country's air-taxi industry in a report released Tuesday that blames pilot error and poor weather for a deadly 2013 plane crash on Vancouver Island's west coast.

More shoulder harnesses, alternate escape routes and improved pilot-monitoring practices were three factors outlined in the national safety agency's investigation into the fatal float plane crash.

"This accident should have been survivable, had the injured passengers been able to get out ... or had the fire not started," said Bill Yearwood, a TSB regional manager.

"There are no new recommendations. What we did was highlight recommendations from past investigations," he added about the recently released investigation, targeted at Transport Canada.

"Those recommendations have not been taken to a satisfactory level."

The Air Nootka Ltd. single-engine, de Havilland Beaver DHC-2 float plane took off on the morning of Aug. 16 in rain and foggy conditions en route to company's base near Gold River after picking up five hikers at Hesquiat Lake, about 85 kilometres northwest of Tofino.

The report stated that the cloud ceiling was around 400 feet above sea level at the time, with visibility just over 4.5 kilometres.

Despite the bad weather, Yearwood was reluctant to place too much fault on the poor flying conditions.

"We can't blame the weather," he said. "The weather's there. How we operate in it is important."

The report further outlined that, although the pilot lacked the qualifications to fly using just the cockpit instruments, he entered into low cloud shortly after takeoff and the plane struck a tree while trying to cross a peninsula.

Everyone survived the crash but the pilot and a passenger were killed because they couldn't get out of the wreckage before it burst into flames after impact. …

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