British Columbia

Plane that disappeared into B.C.'s Fraser River hit power lines before crash: TSB

A Transportation Safety Board report says a small plane that vanished in B.C.'s Fraser River last June hit a power line before sinking into the river.

Plane with 2 aboard was just 38 metres above the water when it clipped a power line

An RCMP officer searches for signs of a missing plane on June 6, 2020. A new report from the Transportation Safety Board said the plane hit a power line before going into the Fraser River near Maple Ridge, B.C. (Jon Hernandez/CBC News)

A Transportation Safety Board report says a small plane that vanished in B.C.'s Fraser River last June hit a power line before sinking into the river.

The Cessna 172M left Boundary Bay Airport on June 6 with two men aboard, an instructor and his student.

The report says the plane was flying in Abbotsford, B.C., along the river at a low altitude and was just 38 metres above the water when it clipped a power line.

Witnesses who called 911 reported seeing a low-flying plane, a splash and then the partially submerged plane on the river.

When emergency responders arrived, the plane had disappeared and a search over several months using divers, underwater imaging and other equipment has found no trace of the plane or its occupants.

The report's conclusion says low-altitude flight always presents a higher risk, with hazards such as power lines that aren't physically marked and difficult to see in time to avoid a collision.

"Flying at low altitude also reduces the margin of safety in the event of engine failure, a loss of control, or any other unexpected circumstances, and increases the risk of an impact with the ground or an obstacle,'' says the report released Thursday.

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