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Warning from control tower to pilot issued before Vancouver float plane crash


Audio between the control tower and the pilot of a plane that collided with a recreational boat in Vancouver's Coal Harbour revealed a warning was issued about the approaching watercraft.

Investigations into a collision between the Harbour Air plane and boat are continuing, with video, audio and witness statements being reviewed by the Transportation Safety Board.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon, just off Stanley Park. Nobody on the plane was injured, according to Harbour Air, and two people who were on the boat were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Audio from the control tower revealed the pilot was given a heads up about the boat entering its path.

"Express 5209 ready for northwest if you have time," the pilot is heard saying.

"Express 5209 caution for the westbound boat at northern alpha. Takeoff northwest at your discretion," the response from the control tower is heard.

'Area alpha'

Thousands of flights have taken off and touched down safely in Coal Harbour, most of them from what's known as "area alpha," which boats are told to avoid.

"If they must transit within that area, they should really be aware of the safe boating tips," Sean Baxter with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority told CTV News Vancouver.

Vessels can cross the area, but should consider it like a busy highway.

"Within the busy waters of a port, if you're encountering deep sea vessels or sea planes it's important to remember that those port users have limited visibility and can't always see you clearly," Baxter said.

The TSB is managing the investigation and told CTV News over the weekend it will take several days to collect evidence and conduct interviews. Members from the agency have spoken with the Vancouver Police Department and its marine unit, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, and Nav Canada. The agency said it would also attend the aircraft recovery and examine the wreckage.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander Top Stories

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