Saskatchewan

Plane in fatal Fond-du-Lac crash wasn't de-iced at airport before takeoff: TSB

The plane which crashed near Fond-du-Lac and killed one person wasn't de-iced at the airport prior to the ill-fated flight, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

TSB report says plane was not overweight

The plane was not de-iced before it took off from the Fond-du-Lac airport when it crashed on the evening of Dec. 13. One person later died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

The plane which crashed near Fond-du-Lac and killed one person wasn't de-iced at the airport prior to the ill-fated flight, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). 

The TSB released an update Monday on its investigation into the crash.

The plane's weight was within limits, the report says. A class-action lawsuit filed in January alleged the plane's weight may have been an issue.

"The weight of the aircraft would be increased by any ice that's accumulated on the aircraft," said David Ross, regional senior investigator, operations for the TSB. 

"It can affect the airflow over the aircraft and it can have unpredictable aerodynamic effects."

Ross said the TSB is looking into why the plane was not de-iced. The investigation will also evaluate whether the equipment available was adequate, among other things.

One passenger, Arson Fern Jr., died two weeks later in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The plane was bound for Stony Rapids.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

Sequence of events

The plane was not overweight when it crashed, despite a class-action lawsuit alleging weight may have been a factor. (Merchant Law Group)

The plane, which was operated by West Wind Aviation, arrived at the Fond-du-Lac airport at 5:25 p.m. CST on Dec. 13.

While the plane was landing, it had experience ice conditions and de-icing procedures were activated. When the anti-ice and de-icing systems were turned off, ice remained on the plane, the TSB report says.

De-icing equipment —  two ladders, a hand-held spray bottle with electric blanket and wand, and a container of de-icing fluid — was available in Fond-du-Lac but the equipment was not used.

As the plane was taking off, it began to rapidly descend and crashed through trees. The path of destruction cut through the trees and landscape stretched at least 800 feet, the report says.

Engine failure was ruled out as a factor in the crash.

Twenty-two passengers and three crew members were on board when it took off.

The company's Air Operator Certificate was later suspended after Transport Canada identified deficiencies in the company's Operational Control System, which ensures that the company's everyday actions comply with safety requirements for things like dispatching personnel and aircraft.

With files from CBC Radio's Blue Sky

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