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

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

Just Posted

Grade 5 student Liam Ouellette and Grade 4 student Trigg Jansen read together in Horse Lake Elementary School’s reading room. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Reading, literacy opens doors to learning

Students at Horse Lake Elementary School seek out challenging reads.

100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile mayor calls on residents to ‘work together’ during pandemic

Mitch Campsall also urges residents to follow the health orders.

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

(Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile Curling Club ends season

President Gordon Smith said season suspended following extension of B.C.’s current health order.

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Jan. 21 marks the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century, according to some. (Black Press Media file photo)
The 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century is upon us

Milestone won’t be back for another 100 years

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

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

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Most Read