Investigators from Transportation Safety Board of Canada won’t have the benefit of voice or data recordings in helping them determine the cause of a fatal plane crash Thursday evening north of Kelowna.
The plane was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder, and no distress signals were sent from the Cessna Citation, which crashed at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Lake Country, killing four men, including former Alberta premier Jim Prentice.
Also killed were the aircraft’s owner, Sheldon Reid, Royal Canadian Air Cadet squadron advisor Jim Kruk, and Calgary optometrist Kenneth Gellatly, whose son was married to Prentice’s daughter.
The men were flying home to Calgary following a late-season golf game in Kelowna.
The following information regarding the investigation was released Saturday evening by Transportation Safety Board:
• A Cessna Citation departed Kelowna, British Columbia (CYLW) at 21:32 (Pacific Daylight Time), destined for Calgary/Springbank Airport, (CYWB).
• The aircraft struck terrain approximately 11 km north of Kelowna Airport at approximately 21:40 local time (Pacific Daylight)
• At this time we believe there was one pilot and three passengers on board, all of whom sustained fatal injuries.
• The aircraft was not equipped with, nor was it required to carry, a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) or a Flight Data Recorder (FDR); however, the team will be reviewing any electronic components on the aircraft from which they can retrieve data to help understand the flight profile.
• Initial examination suggests the aircraft was destroyed from high deceleration forces after a vertical descent.
• There were no emergency or distress calls made. No emergency locator transmitter signal was received.
The occurrence site is currently under the control of the BC Coroners Service. The TSB has been granted access to the site. There are currently five investigators on site.
The RCMP is providing an unmanned aerial vehicle for site survey and documentation. This data will be provided to the BC Coroners Service and to the TSB.
So far, the TSB investigators have:
• Examined the site (preliminary walk-around)
• Taken photographs of the wreckage
• Been collaborating with the BC Coroners Service
• Given Observer status to Transport Canada, the aircraft manufacturer, and the RCMP.
The team will continue taking measurements and documenting the site into the evening.
In the coming days, the team will also:
• Examine, document and photograph the aircraft wreckage
• Make arrangements to transfer relevant aircraft components to the TSB Laboratory in Ottawa for further analysis
• Examine the occurrence site and surrounding terrain features
• Gather additional information about weather conditions
• Gather information on Air Traffic communications and radar information
• Obtain aircraft maintenance records and pilot records
• Interview witnesses and next-of-kin
• Review operational policies
• Examine the regulatory requirements