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

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
Vernon students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

A portion of 34th Street will be closed to through traffic as of Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, while sewer upgrades are underway. (City of Vernon)
Sewer upgrades to close Vernon road

Motorists are to expect some delays around portion of 34th Street starting Wednesday

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Owners sought after dog ‘dumped’ near Vernon school

Pup is now either getting adopted or going to the SPCA

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Most Read