Report on Resolute crash likely won't be ready until 2013

It's been one year since the investigation began into the fatal First Air crash in Resolute, Nunavut. Investigators still have months of work before they will be able to release the final report into the crash.

TSB says larger aircraft accidents take longer to investigate

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board spent the two weeks immediately after the crash gathering information from the site. (Transportation Safety Board)

It’s been one year since the investigation began into the fatal First Air crash in Resolute, Nunavut, and the cause of the crash is still unknown.

12 people were killed when the airplane crashed into a hill near the hamlet. Three survived.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said those who want answers will have to wait a little longer. Brian MacDonald, the lead investigator on the case, said usually the board has a target of eight to 12 months to produce reports on accidents involving smaller planes.

"But when you're dealing with a large transport aircraft with multiple, complex systems on board operating in a complex, three-dimensional environment, it becomes a longer process," said MacDonald. "Just because there's more things that have to be looked at and verified if they're contributing or not contributing. For instance, Swissair took an enormous amount of time because the wreckage was underwater - I mean, I think it was 18 months before they even had all the wreckage out of the water."

Investigators analyzing information in Ottawa labs

The TSB completed investigation work in Resolute during the first two weeks after the crash. Since then, investigators have spent their time going over the wreckage and data in their Ottawa labs.

The board released a progress report in January saying the First Air Boeing 737 was structurally sound when it crashed into a hill near the Resolute airport while trying to abort the landing attempt.

MacDonald said a draft report will likely go to the TSB board in a few months. A few months later, there will be an external review and approval of the final report.

So those who want to know what happened that day may not find out until 2013.

The crash resulted in several lawsuits blaming air traffic control. Those lawsuits are still before the courts.

The Canadian Forces had set up a temporary control zone in Resolute at the time during the Operation Nanook military exercise.

MacDonald would not comment on specifics.

"I can't really - other than to say that we're pursuing all avenues of investigation."

First Air and NAV Canada also declined to talk about the investigation and the lawsuits.

The TSB has issued two safety recommendations, based on its investigation so far.  One focuses on communications at the Resolute airport, the other on aircraft flight data recordings.