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Transportation Safety Board sends investigators to assess B.C. seaplane crash


VANCOUVER – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is sending a team of investigators to the scene of a seaplane accident that killed four people and left five injured on a remote, uninhabited island in British Columbia on Friday.

Board spokesperson Chris Krepski said three investigators are set to arrive at the scene first thing Sunday morning and will begin gathering information and assessing the crash, which took place on Addenbroke Island around 100 kilometres off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

Lt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said the centre received word at around 11 a.m. on Friday that a Cessna 208 float plane operated by Seair Seaplanes had crashed.

The chartered plane had nine people aboard – one pilot and eight passengers – and was headed to neighbouring Calvert Island, the location of the Hakai Land and Sea fishing lodge and a Hakai Institute coastal research station.

The flight was not bound for the research station and no one affiliated with the institute was on the plane, according to Hakai Institute founder Eric Peterson.

Lisa Bergstrom, the administration manager for the Hakai Land and Sea Society, also confirmed the plane was not destined for their lodge on the island.

According to weather data from Hakai’s station, there was intense rain between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Friday, around the time the crash was reported, though it is unclear if weather was a factor.

“I don’t have exact information as to what the weather was at the time, but as with any investigation that’s something we’re certainly interested in,” said Krepski.

TSB investigators generally examine and document aircraft wreckage, identify aircraft components that may be removed for further inspection at the board’s engineering lab, and interview witnesses, Krepski explained.

He was not sure whether anyone besides the pilot and eight passengers witnessed Friday’s crash and he could not say how long investigators will remain at the scene.

In addition to fieldwork, the board will gather information on pilot training and experience, as well as aircraft maintenance records.

RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau said the crash is not being considered criminal in nature but RCMP are assisting Transport Canada and the Coroners Service as needed.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Canadian Press