TSB closes investigation into fatal July plane crash near Jasper, Alta.
Pilot was severely injured and 31-year-old male passenger died after crash into river
A small plane that crashed into the Athabasca River near Jasper, Alta., in July, killing the passenger and injuring the pilot, stalled and entered a spin soon after takeoff, an investigation has found.
In a news release Friday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said it has closed its investigation into the July 21 crash of the Cessna 150J.
According to a summary of the investigation report, the aircraft took off from the Jasper Airport at 1:23 p.m. and climbed for 25 seconds, reaching an altitude of 150 feet above ground level.
Half a mile from the airport, the plane went into an aerodynamic stall and entered a spin to the left, hitting the water in a pool on the river.
A pilot who saw the accident called 911. Another eyewitness helped the Cessna's pilot and the 31-year-old male passenger to shore. Passersby on Highway 16 stopped to administer first aid and Jasper EMS arrived soon afterward.
The investigation found that the aircraft was within the certified weight and balance limits, and that the wing flaps were found in the retracted position.
"Based on examination of the wreckage and the photo and video information collected, it was determined that the engine and flight controls had been operating normally prior to impact," the report summary says.
The temperature was about 24C and the winds when the plane took off were southerly at five to 10 knots.
The plane was equipped with an aviation global positioning system (GPS) unit, which was recovered at the crash site and analyzed at the TSB engineering laboratory.
Just before the loss of control, the GPS recorded a reduction in ground speed, from 83 mph to 64 mph, and a course change approximately 30 degrees to the left of the runway track.
During the reduction in airspeed, the altitude remained constant at about 150 feet above ground level for about five seconds before the plan departed controlled flight and entered an aerodynamic stall and left-hand spin, the report said.