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Stall, downdraft, decision making may have played roles in B.C. air-taxi crash: TSB

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) signage is pictured outside TSB offices in Ottawa on Monday, May 1, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) signage is pictured outside TSB offices in Ottawa on Monday, May 1, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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The Transportation Safety Board says several factors may have played a role in the crash of an air taxi in B.C.'s Chilcotin region two years ago, including poor visibility and the pilot's motivation to get to Lorna Lake after cancelling earlier in the day.

The pilot and two of the five passengers aboard the Tyax Air Service Ltd. Beaver float plane were seriously hurt when it crashed not far from the lake on July 17, 2022.

The safety board's report says the pilot attempted to fly to the lake earlier in the day, but diverted to another location due to poor visibility.

On the second trip to the lake, the report says the pilot encountered increasing low cloud and reduced visibility, and when she tried to turn around, the plane's speed dropped and it crashed, likely because of a stall or a downdraft.

The report says close interactions with passengers can affect a pilot's ability to make safe decisions, since the role of air-tax pilots begins with customer service.

The board's report says because the pilot was unable to reach Lorna Lake on the previous flight, she was motivated to find a route to the destination and decided the visibility and cloud height were sufficient to continue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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