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TSB releases investigation report into float plane crash near Lorna Lake, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia, 24 April 2024 — Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (A22P0057) into a 2022 collision with terrain of a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 MK I (Beaver) aircraft, operated by Tyax Air Service Limited.

In the morning of July 17, 2022, the aircraft departed Tyaughton Lake, British Columbia (BC) for Lorna Lake, BC. When flying through the valley, the pilot encountered increasing low clouds and reduced visibility. The pilot initiated a course reversal and during the turn collided with terrain. The pilot and two of the passengers received serious injuries while the three other passengers received minor injuries The aircraft was substantially damaged.

The pilot had flown earlier that day towards Lorna Lake but had to divert to another location due to reduced visibility. On the second flight in that area, the pilot decided that the visibility and cloud height were sufficient to proceed. This was likely motivated by internal operational pressures and an underlying aspiration to reach the planned destination. When flying through the valley, the pilot prepared for a possible course reversal by reducing airspeed, setting climb flaps, and moving to the right side of the valley. This resulted in the aircraft operating closer to the terrain at a slower airspeed.

Additionally, the pilot’s perception of the aircraft’s position relative to the clouds, the ground, and other physical features was influenced by the height of the aircraft, water droplets on the windshield, and the unavailability of various visual cues in the valley. This made it difficult for the pilot to detect the abruptly rising terrain. While turning to reverse course, which further decreased the aircraft’s speed, the aircraft collided with the down-sloping terrain near the completion of the turn, likely as the result of a stall, a downdraft, or both.

In 2019, the TSB published its safety issue investigation report (A15H0001) Raising the bar on safety: Reducing the risks associated with air-taxi operations in Canada. The report identified 19 safety themes that illustrated day-to-day challenges of operating in the air taxi sector, such as the unique operating pressure to get the job done and pilot training.

See the investigation page for more information.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-360-4376