Thunder Bay

New training, procedures in place since fatal 2015 crash: Wasaya Airways

Thunder Bay's Wasaya Airways says it learned from a fatal 2015 crash near Pickle Lake, and is working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Pilot killed in crash near Pickle Lake in December 2015

A Wasaya Cessna 208 cashed 28 kilometres north of Pickle Lake in December 2015, killing the pilot. The Transportation Safety Board released its report on Thursday, saying ice accumulation was the cause. (Transportation Safety Board)

Thunder Bay's Wasaya Airways says it learned from a fatal 2015 crash near Pickle Lake, and is working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released a report on the crash on Thursday, stating ice accumulation was the cause, and given the existing conditions the plane was operating beyond its capabilities.

Later Thursday, Wasaya distributed a media release acknowledging the findings of the TSB, and saying the airline "enhances and implemented safety procedures based on the TSB findings."

Those include:

  • Making changes to aircraft loading and maintenance procedures;
  • Increasing minimum conditions for Wasaya flights operating under visual flight rules — Wasaya says the company's new standards surpass the minimum required under Canadian aviation regulations; and
  • Enhanced cold weather and icing training for flight crews.

"The steps we are, and have taken will enhance the safety of our operation and throughout our region," said Michael Rodyniuk, Wasaya president and CEO. "We thank the TSB for their diligent work."

Crash occurred at Tarp Hill

The crash occurred on December 15, 2015, and involved a Wasaya Airways Cessna 208B Caravan carrying a load of cargo. The only person on board during the flight was the pilot, later identified as Capt. Nick Little.

The plane crashed into an elevated area known as Tarp Hill shortly after leaving Pickle Lake. It was heading for Angling Lake/Wapekeka Airport. Little was killed in the crash.

The TSB report states that the performance of the aircraft was "consistent with operation in icing conditions that exceeded the capabilities of the aircraft," and that the situation was exacerbated by the high takeoff weight due to the cargo on board.

"As the aircraft continued its flight in icing conditions, rather than returning to base, it experienced substantially degraded aircraft performance as a result of ice accumulation, which led to an aerodynamic stall, loss of control, and collision with terrain," the report stated.