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

Left to right, Wayne Day, AF Ret’d; Doug Prentice, Army Ret’d, Kyle Dalum, Army Ret’d and Randy Kruger. Front, Vicky Kruger. Photo submitted
Veteran donates three quilts to Quilts of Valour after receiving her own

Cindy Postnikoff, who distributes Quilts of Valour to area veterans, as well… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

Centre 64 in Kimberley. Bulletin file
Kimberley’s Centre 64 receives grant for building improvements

The Kimberley Arts Council/Centre 64 has just received notice that their grant… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Most Read