Police boats were called in to search the Fraser River after a report that a plane had crashed where the river runs between Langley and Maple Ridge (Shane MacKichan/special to Langley Advance Times)

Police boats were called in to search the Fraser River after a report that a plane had crashed where the river runs between Langley and Maple Ridge (Shane MacKichan/special to Langley Advance Times)

Report unveils final moments before still-missing Cessna crashed into Fraser River in June

Still no sign of plane or passengers from June 6 crash

The fate of the crew is still unknown according to a Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation into a plane crash last year over the Fraser River between Maple Ridge and Langley.

On Jun. 6, a Cessna 172M aircraft operated by the International Flight Centre was conducting a local training flight from Boundary Bay Airport with a student and a flight instructor on board when it disappeared from radar.

The Transportation Safety Board, (TSB), has now concluded its investigation into the incident and released its final report on Thursday, Jan. 7.

The report revealed an aircraft left Boundary Bay Airport just before 1 p.m. and turned east-northeast as it climbed to an altitude of 2400 feet above sea level, (ASL).

Just after 1 p.m. the instructor contacted the tower controller at Pitt Meadows Airport for permission to enter the control zone for circuits but was turned down with a recommendation for pilot to try Langley Regional Airport instead.

When the pilot contacted Langley, they were cleared. That was the last communication the Langley tower controller heard from the aircraft.

At 1:09 p.m. the aircraft started to descend from 2200 feet ASL, and flew over the Fraser River near Fort Langley Water Aerodrome. It levelled briefly at 1500 ASL, 300 ASL and 200 ASL, going at a groundspeed of 80 knots, the equivalent of 148 km/h.

Then at around 1:13 p.m. the aircraft hit a power transmission line which was strung across the river – about 125 feet above the water – and went down.

READ MORE: Missing plane linked to reported plane crash in Fraser River between Langley and Maple Ridge

The first call to 911 was received at 1:19 p.m. from someone who reported seeing a low-flying aircraft and then a splash in the river. They also saw the aircraft partially submerged.

A witness at the time told RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau they saw a small plane crash into the river. Later that same day Boundary Bay Airport advised that a small plane containing two people was overdue.

Cpl. Manseau confirmed the overdue plane was similar in size and colour to the one the witness saw crashing into the Fraser. He also confirmed the initial flight plan submitted by the pilot did not take the plane over the river where the crash was reported.

However, when emergency responders arrived on scene, the plane could no longer be seen.

Over the past several months the RCMP have used boats, helicopters, divers and underwater imaging equipment to try to locate the aircraft, but, the report said, the water level was high at the time of the incident which hampered the first few months of the search.

No remnants of the aircraft have ever been found, and the fate of the crew remains unknown, the report concluded.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Const. Julie Klaussner with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.

Klaussner confirmed there have been searches for the plane by outside agencies, with the last search occurring on Nov. 4, last year.

“That being said it was determined that due to conditions of the river, RCMP underwater recovery teams were not able to proceed back in June,” added Klaussner.

The B.C. Coroner’s Service has confirmed they have not been called to investigate at this time.

Lead investigator Dan Clarke has determined weather was not a factor in the crash.

The instructor in the plane was licensed with a Class 4 instructor rating, with 808 flight hours under their belt, and was being supervised by the flight training unit’s chief flight instructor at the time.

The student, who had accumulated around 80 flight hours at a flight training unit in the United States, only began training in Canada in February, 2020, and had gained an additional 10 flight hours at the time of the crash.

READ MORE: Search for plane in Fraser River continues five days after crash

While the aircraft was not equipped with a flight data or cockpit voice recorder, nor was it required to be by regulation, the report stated it was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, but no signal was detected.

The power transmission lines are owned by B.C. Hydro. Since 2015 there has been a recurring NOTAM, or alert for pilots advising of a potential hazard along a flight path, indicating the cable crossing was unmarked.

However, the TSB investigation, could not determine if the flight instructor or student were aware of the alert or if they were aware the power transmission lines were indicated on the navigational chart.

B.C. Hydro has, according to the report, “prioritized the schedule for the commissioning of the daytime strobe lights”, which are anticipated to be completed later this year.

“Low-altitude flight always presents higher risk. Not all hazards, such as power transmission lines, are physically marked or can be seen in time to avoid collision,” the report finished.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim with this report was to advance transportation safety – not to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.



newsroom@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Maple RidgePlane crash

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Pictured is Britany Bignham, a Cranbrook hairstylist who is one of 16 top stylists in the running for the Ultimate Stylist competition - an online international hair and beauty competition. She is pictured behind her chair at the Hair Mob. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook hairstylist vies for top prize in international competition

Britany Bingham is one of 16 finalists in the Ultimate Stylist competition

Kimberley RCMP detachment seeking information after female teenager grabbed by masked man.
Teenaged female grabbed by masked man on Kimberley trail

RCMP seeking witnesses or information

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

City staff has passed an order requiring remedial action on a building that was severely damaged by fire last fall. Trevor Crawley photo.
City council orders remedial action on vacant buildings damaged by fire

City council has issued a remedial action order relating to vacant buildings… Continue reading

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read