British Columbia

Robert Brandt, Carson Air pilot killed in B.C. plane crash, had alcohol in system

Post-mortem results on two pilots who died in a plane crash on Vancouver's North Shore Mountains in April show Capt. Robert Brandt had "a significant level of alcohol" in his system.

'This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated,' says widow of co-pilot

The Carson Air twin-engine Swearingen SA-226 plane crashed on April 13, killing Capt. Robert Brandt and his co-pilot Kevin Wang. The BC Coroners Service says Brandt was intoxicated. (CBC)

Post-mortem results on two pilots who died in a plane crash on Vancouver's North Shore Mountains on April 13 reveal Capt. Robert Brandt had "a significant level of alcohol" in his system, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

Brandt, 34, had a blood alcohol level of alcohol level of 52 mmol/L or 0.24 per cent, according to the coroner.

"It would be equivalent of a breathalyzer reading of 0.24 where 0.08 is the limit for motor vehicle drivers under the Criminal Code," said spokesperson Barb McLintock.

No other substances were found in Brandt's system and no substances were found in his co-pilot Kevin Wang, 32.

The two Vancouver men were flying a twin engine Swearingen SA-226 aircraft, carrying paper products to Prince George for Richmond-based Carson Air when they lost control of the plane.

Wang's widow, Lilian Luo, said she wants answers from the airline.

"I'm not saying the cause of the accident is the captain being intoxicated, but whether or not the accident has happened, this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated," Luo told CBC News. 

Widow wants answers

"I want to question the company . . . have they done anything to make sure that none of their pilots is intoxicated before the flight?"

On the day of the accident, the plane dropped from an altitude of 2,400 metres to about 900 metres in less than a minute and crashed on Coliseum Mountain at about 7:10 a.m. PT.

The plane didn't have cockpit voice or flight data recording systems, so the cause of the crash has to be pieced together from physical evidence.

The incident is still under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and the B.C. Coroners Service, said Barb McLintock, the service's spokesperson. 

'Deeply affected'

Kevin Hillier, vice president of Carson Air, said the information was troubling but noted the report is not final.

"The news was troubling as it is contrary to our policies and practices," said Hillier in a statement. "The company has operated for over 25 years with an exemplary safety record.

"Everyone at Carson Air was deeply affected by the accident and the loss of our flight crew," he said.

"Internally, we are continuing to work with staff to ensure our high standards of safe flights, safe aircraft and a safe workplace are maintained."