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 pier-plank purchasers celebrated

Donors received a certificate Sunday marking their purchase of a pier plank

Plans for new Surrey hospital to be updated Monday

News conference announced by Premier Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix

White Rock looking at 3.9% tax increase

Budget discussions are to take place this week

PHOTOS: White Rock Festival of Lights celebrated with a cheer

Hundreds of people gathered in the city Saturday for a Christmas event

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read