Transportation Safety Board of Canada is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation accidents. (TSB/Flickr)

Lack of oxygen likely caused fatal plane crash near Calgary, says TSB report

The pilot flying the Piper PA-31 Navajo was headed to the Springbank Airport

A lack of oxygen likely played a role in a plane crash southwest of Calgary that killed two people, an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada found.

The board said in a report released Thursday that hypoxia, or in-flight oxygen deprivation, caused the pilot to lose control before the plane crashed into rugged terrain in the Kananaskis area of Alberta on Aug. 1, 2018.

The pilot flying the Piper PA-31 Navajo was headed to the Springbank Airport near Calgary with a survey technician.

The aircraft’s right engine began operating at a significantly lower power setting than the left engine when the pilot was approaching the airport, said the board.

Investigators could not determine why this happened.

READ MORE: Trudeau praises actions of coast guard in help with deadly float plane crash

“About 90 seconds later, at approximately 13,500 feet (4,115 metres), the aircraft departed controlled flight,” the report said. ”The aircraft collided with terrain near the summit of Mount Rae.”

Although a portable oxygen system was available on the plane, the pilot was not continuously using it in the high altitude, which the board said is required by regulation.

The board also found that flight crews with Aries Aviation, the company that owned and operated the aircraft, only undergo theoretical hypoxia training.

Aries is not required by law to provide practical training and the report noted there is a risk pilots will not recognize early symptoms in higher altitudes.

“Although certain hypoxia effects may become more noticeable than others as an aircraft ascends, associated changes to a pilot’s sense of self, motivation, willpower and wellness often overshadow the ability to identify performance degradation in themselves,” the report said.

“In fact, a pilot who is in a hypoxic state may actually experience euphoria. Even sensory effects, such as darkening of the visual field, may become noticeable to individuals only after they begin … using oxygen or descending to a lower altitude.”

The aircraft was not required to have a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, the board said.

“However, the aircraft was equipped with a flight data monitoring system that included a camera,” the board said in a statement Tuesday.

“This system provided significant information to help TSB investigators better understand the underlying factors that contributed to the accident.”

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province providing financing to help get apartments built in Nanaimo’s Wellington area

120 apartments on Ledgerwood Road intended to be affordable for ‘middle-income’ households

Regional District of Nanaimo to start delivering new garbage carts

Updated automated curbside collection service set to get underway Oct. 1

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

RDN paid $35 million in wages last year, financial statements show

Statement of financial information, including salaries and expenses, will be presented to directors

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read