A little more than two years after more than two dozen people were injured when Air Canada 624 (AC 624) crash-landed at Halifax’s international airport, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is set to release its investigation report Thursday.
Here’s a look at what’s happened since:
March 29, 2015 — At approximately 12:30 a.m. local time, AC 624’s engines sever several power transmission lines then hit the ground about 225 metres before the runway threshold. The plane then hits an antenna array about 335 metres before the end of the runway, breaking off the main landing gear. The plane’s nose and engine detach and a wing is severely damaged. The flight had 133 passengers and five crew members on board, of which 25 passengers were injured.
Air Canada’s chief operating officer said the same day that weather was safe for landing prior to the crash, though a snowstorm was occurring at the time. By early afternoon, all but one of the passengers had been released from the hospital. That evening, TSB investigator announce an investigation has started into what caused the plane to hit the antenna array and crash.
March 30, 2015 — A statement by TSB says the plane was airborne again after initially touching down, leaving an extensive debris field between the localizer antenna and beginning of the runway. Air Canada’s chief operating officer again stresses the weather was good enough to land. The cockpit voice recorder for the plane had been sent to Ottawa.
March 30-31, 2015 — Some passengers speak with Global News about the incident, including a woman and her elderly aunt who had to be transported to hospital and a man who carried the aunt to safety from the plane. Catherine Ouellet said people were “jostled” forward in their seats and also praised the quick action of first responders and Good Samaritans, including Steve Earle, who had carried her aunt. Earle told Global News there was no question that he had to act quickly and it was important everyone got to safety.
March 31, 2015 — TSB concludes its examination of the crash site. The TSB also authorizes the removal of the Airbus A320 aircraft from the runway. In a statement, Halifax International Airport Authority president Joyce Carter says the runway where the crash occurred will likely be out of operation for at least a month.
March 31, 2015 — Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner tells Global News a number of passengers seeking compensation through court have contacted him.
April 1, 2015 — Airport official says wreckage of AC 624 has been removed from runway. New aerial photos from a police drone show a better view of the debris field around the plane and extensive damage done to the nearby antenna array. That same day, planning documents showed the government was slashing funding for all safety and security programs at Transport Canada.
April 2015 — Ray Wagner of Halifax and Joe Fiorante of Vancouver file statement of claim with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
April 20, 2015 — MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law in Halifax files $12 million class action lawsuit against Air Canada on behalf of passengers aboard the flight. Nav Canada, which operates Canada’s civil air navigation system, the flight’s pilots and the Halifax International Airport Authority are also named in the lawsuit. The suit alleges Nav Canada instructed the pilots to land when it knew or should have known conditions were unsafe. It also alleges HIAA failed to properly monitor runway 05 and alleges the authority failed to adequately inspect, test and report runway surface conditions. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
May 21, 2015 — Wagner and Fiorante make pitch to AC624 passengers to join lawsuit. The claim alleges Air Canada did not adequately train the flight crew on Airbus A-320 procedures and alleges the crew chose not to abort the landing when they knew, or ought to have known, that a safe touchdown was impaired or prevented by weather conditions. The claims have not been proven in court.
June 16, 2015 — A preliminary report by the TSB says there were no mechanical problems with the plane when it crashed. The board, in a statement, says the aircraft was correctly configured for landing, air speed was consistent with normal approach and there were no mechanical deficiencies. However, the board also confirmed weather was poor at the time.
Sept. 29, 2015 — The TSB releases images of inside AC624’s cabin after the crash.
March 29, 2016 — Passengers on the plane speak with Global News about their experiences and how they’re recovering, including one woman who says she was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some passengers say they’re still waiting for settlement, while others received $5,000 from Air Canada, which included a letter saying the amount would be taken out of any settlement that came as a result of the incident.
December 12, 2016 — The certification of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of passengers is challenged in court by federal lawyers. The lawyers argued Transport Canada could not be sued as it did not owe a duty of care to the passengers and that the department should be exempt as it had no direct relationship with the passengers. The other defendants, including Air Canada, the HIAA, Nav Canada and Airbus SAS, the French company which builds the Airbus line of jets, confirm they won’t oppose the certification.
December 12, 2016 — Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Denise Boudreau rules that though Transport Canada did not owe a duty of care to the flying public, it had to be included in the lawsuit because it could be held responsible for its navigation systems and other equipment as it is the airport’s landlord.
March 30, 2016 — Air Canada files statement of claim in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. In the lawsuit, Air Canada claims Airbus’s negligence contributed to a crash landing. The document said Airbus did not advise that in certain conditions, the plane’s flight path angle could be affected by external forces. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
May 16, 2017 — The TSB says in a news release this morning that the investigation report on what it terms a “collision with terrain” will be released on Thursday.
—With files from Global News and The Canadian Press
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