Okanagan plane crash death sparks calls for shoulder belts
The family of a young Surrey, B.C. woman who died from injuries suffered in a plane crash last August are raising concerns about seatbelt regulations on small aircraft.
Lauren Sewell, 24, died after the PA 30 Piper Twin Comanche she was aboard went down last August west of Peachland, B.C.
Sewell survived the crash, but died in hospital from severe head injuries. One other passenger died in the crash, but two people survived, including the pilot, who was wearing a shoulder belt.
Sewell's parents, Greg and Fran Sewell, say they believe if there was a shoulder belt available to her instead of just a lap belt, their daughter would still be alive.
"Safety recommendations, such as the mandatory requirement for shoulder restraints, that is something I believe [in] after looking at the fuselage of the plane," Greg Sewell told CBC News. "That would have saved her life."The Transportation Safety Board says there are currently no recommendations requiring older, private aircraft to be fitted with shoulder seatbelts for passengers, such as those that are mandatory in cars.
The pilot still can’t recall how the crash happened.
"As people begin to recover, hopefully, they can remember more and shed more light on what went wrong, because we just don't know what went wrong," Fran Sewell said.
The TSB expects to release a report on the crash investigation next summer.
"We want to make sure those safety recommendations are not forgotten about. I will personally be on a mission to make sure those recommendations are enacted into law," said Greg Sewell.
Although Lauren Sewell did not survive the accident, her parents opted to donate her organs, which were later transplanted into six other people.
With files from the CBC's Emily Elias