Safety board investigating plane crash

Transportation Safety Board investigators have started trying to determine what caused a plane to crash in northeastern Alberta, killing one person and injuring nine others.

CONKLIN — Transportation Safety Board investigators have started trying to determine what caused a plane to crash in northeastern Alberta, killing one person and injuring nine others.

The twin-engine King Air 100 carrying British Petroleum Canada workers crash-landed late Monday morning in muskeg about two kilometres short of the remote landing strip at Kirby Lake.

“We need to take the time to get it right and we need to gather all the relevant information, do a thorough analysis of the information and write a report with the findings and contributing factors,” Chris Krepski, a Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Tuesday from Montreal.

Search and Rescue officials said weather conditions at the time of the crash included freezing rain. That is just one of the factors the two investigators will consider.

The plane was operated by Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air. The company specializes in polar travel.

Investigators will review the company’s crew training records and the maintenance history of the aircraft, Krepski said.

The identity of the person who died has not been released, but it’s believed to be one of the two crew members.

Melanie Ostopowich of British Petroleum Canada said the passengers included seven company employees and a contractor who were travelling to the area as part of a regular crew change at a BP natural gas operation.

“Sadly there was a fatality, but I can confirm it was not a BP employee or a contractor,” she said.

Kenn Borek Air President John Harmer didn’t return calls Tuesday.

The crash, signalled by the plane’s emergency beacon, touched off a rescue that involved emergency personnel from Conklin and Fort McMurray, as well as military search and rescue from as far away as Winnipeg and a helicopter ambulance from Edmonton. Emergency crews from a nearby Cenovus Energy plant also responded to the scene.

Ostopowich said the news of the fatal crash hit staff at BP hard.

“Employees were shocked and saddened by what happened,” she said.

“It’s obviously a very tough situation. We’re doing everything we can to keep our employees informed of what’s happened and providing support. Our main focus right now is on those that were injured as well as their families.”

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