TSB reveals factors in fatal Pickle Lake plane crash

The Transportation Safety Board has released information on a fatal plane crash near Pickle Lake in October of 2012.

Report says 2012 crash happened in complete darkness, pilot had no visual cues

A Transportation Safety Board report notes that a lack of situational awareness, unfamiliarity with the airport, and the pilots dealing with darkness, contributed to the October 2012 crash in Pickle Lake.

The Transportation Safety Board has released information on a fatal plane crash near Pickle Lake in October of 2012.

Two pilots and one passenger were killed after the plane hit the ground short of the runway.

Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Peter Hildebrand said the darkness, and the pilot having no visual cues, factored into the crash.

“The airport's located in an area that's really quite dark all around,” he said. “There's just not a lot of ground lighting in that area, even though the weather was suitable, there isn't much to see.”

Investigators also found the pilots, who spoke French, had a language barrier, and had difficulty understanding a flight service specialist in Thunder Bay. The pilots were also unfamiliar with the airport.

The landing was done in complete darkness. The plane was supposed to arrive earlier in the day, but the crew had to make a repair while flying through Northern Manitoba, the TSB said.

The report states the pilot was descending about six times faster than is normal for the approach in that plane. Usually descent is about 500 feet per minute but, in this case, descent was closer to 3000 feet per minute.

Another pilot in a plane on the runway at the Pickle Lake Airport said he noted the plane was descending quickly.

Eventually the plane hit a wooded area and crashed. One passenger survived.

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