Engine failure ruled out in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., plane crash

A spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board says it's "remarkable" Fight 282 did not catch on fire upon impact, given that both of the plane's engines were still running.

'Remarkable' there was no fire upon impact, TSB spokesman says

The Transportation Safety Board says both engines on West Wind Aviation Flight 282 were running when the ATR 42-320 crashed in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., last week. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says it has ruled out engine failure as the cause of last week's plane crash in remote Fond-du-Lac, Sask.

"Both engines were operating at the point of impact," when West Wind Aviation Flight 282 crashed into trees one kilometre from the runway, said Eric Vermette, manager of operations for the TSB's central region, during a news conference Wednesday.

"It is quite remarkable that there was no fire. It was good news."

"Remarkable" was also how Vermette described the effort by local residents to rescue the plane's three crew members and 22 passengers from the wreckage.

All of the passengers were injured, six of them seriously.

"I think it's remarkable that people were able to come together and help the passengers and crew members on this aircraft," he said.

But the cause of the crash, which happened shortly after the Stony Rapids-bound flight took off after 6:12 p.m. CST on Dec. 13, remains unknown.

Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Vermette lauded the aid efforts of local residents in the aftermath of the crash. (CBC)

What's next

Vermette said parts of the twin-turboprop plane will be shipped to a lab in Ottawa for analysis. 

He said the TSB's investigation will look at, among other things: the experience and hours logged by the plane's two pilots; the weather conditions at the time of the crash; the plane's maintenance records; and how people managed to survive the crash.

The TSB has already weighed the luggage that was on board, though the agency said it does not yet have all the information it needs to say whether the flight was over its weight limit. 

"Part of the investigation is to look at what the weather was doing, the runway length and all that to determine what the maximum takeoff weight of the aircraft is," said Vermette.

The aircraft wreckage in Fond-du-Lac, Sask., following the Dec. 13 crash. Everyone on board the plane survived, though six were seriously injured. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

In its last update, issued on Saturday, the TSB said it had sent the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder from West Wind's ATR-42-320 plane to a lab in Ottawa.

The plane, which was destroyed in the crash, settled on the ground in an upright position, though tilted steeply to the right, according to the TSB.

In its path, the plane cleared at least a quarter of a kilometre of forest.

The fuselage ruptured at about the third seating row.

Vermette could not give a timeline for how long it will take the TSB to complete its investigation. 

The plane cleared at least a quarter of a kilometre of forest before it came to rest. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)


Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

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