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.

Just Posted

White Rock RCMP seeking information about Aug. 16 assault

Man in 60s was injured around same time Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death

New recovery house rules, increased funding aim to prevent overdose tragedy

Changes ‘speak to issues’ highlighted by death of South Surrey’s Zachary Plett

Cloverdale DebuTheatre play heading to Vancouver Fringe Festival

Legoland will run through September at the Cultch as part of Dramatic Works Series

Surrey RCMP say municipal force approval a ‘challenging time’ for detachment

Province green lit the plan, joint committee for transition to be established

Police hope to speak with witnesses from fatal 2017 stabbing in Surrey

Wally Rogers was stabbed outside his home near 88th Avenue and 144th Street on July 8, 2017

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read