Decision to fly to remote B.C. fish camp in poor weather cited by TSB in deadly crash
RICHMOND, B.C. — A decision to fly in poor weather to a remote British Columbia fishing lodge in July 2019 led to a float plane crash that killed four people and injured five others, says a Transportation Safety Board investigation report.
The TSB report released Wednesday says the Seair Seaplanes aircraft left the Vancouver airport’s water aerodrome on July 26, 2019, for Calvert Island on B.C.’s central coast despite poor weather forecasts for the area.
The crash occurred on Addenbroke Island, about 90 kilometres off the northern end of Vancouver Island, and about 17 kilometres from the lodge.
The investigation report says the pilot continued flying in bad weather and reduced visibility, and was not able to determine the Cessna 208 Caravan’s proximity to rising terrain. It crashed into a heavily forested hillside on the island.
“After encountering poor weather conditions, the pilot continued the flight in reduced visibility, without recognizing the proximity to terrain, and subsequently impacted the rising terrain of Addenbroke Island.
“Although the aircraft was equipped with advanced avionics devices, they were configured in a way that made the system ineffective at alerting the pilot to the rising terrain ahead.”
The investigation by the TSB, an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline and rail transportation occurrences, said the pilot’s decision was also influenced by “group dynamics.”
Four Seair float planes were bound for the fishing lodge that day, says the report.
The investigation found the group of pilots, including the crash pilot, “decided explicitly, in the presence of senior operational staff and the company president, to conduct the flights.”
The report said one pilot who had never been to the destination declined to fly due to concerns about the weather at the destination.
The pilot who died knew of that decision and decided to proceed, the investigation found.