A floatplane that crashed in northern Saskatchewan a year ago, killing all five people aboard, stalled in midair and was too low to recover, the Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday in its report on the incident.

The float-equipped de Havilland Beaver DHC-2 aircraft, operated by Lawrence Bay Airways, left Buss Lakes on June 30, 2011, and went into the water about 3.7 kilometres away.

"The aircraft entered an aerodynamic stall," Peter Hildebrand, TSB regional operations manager, said in a news release. "The stall occurred at an altitude from which recovery was not possible."

Aerodynamic stall occurs when there is not enough air flowing over the wings to keep the craft aloft. If there's enough time and altitude, a pilot can recover, but in this case that didn't happen.

The five victims were:

  • Danny Mantyka, 21, of Prince Albert, Sask.
  • Max Clunie, 15, also from Prince Albert.
  • Wade Cooper, 44, from the Senlac area of Saskatchewan.
  • Cam Cooper, 40, his brother, also from the Senlac area.
  • Andre Gagnon, 32, from Sherbrooke, Que.

The group had chartered the plane to take them to a private cabin on Buss Lakes for a four-day fishing trip.

While the investigation found that the plane was flying at low speed and low altitude, it was not clear why it was doing so.

"If the pilot had been operating at a higher altitude it is likely the aircraft would have been able to recover and fly away," Hildebrand said. "The conditions are consistent with a pilot trying to recover from a stall."


Five people were killed when this de Havilland Beaver floatplane crashed in northern Saskatchewan on June 30, 2011. (TSB)