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TSB eliminates engine failure as cause of plane crash in northern Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'TSB updates investigation into cause of northern Saskatchewan plane crash' TSB updates investigation into cause of northern Saskatchewan plane crash
WATCH ABOVE: The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has provided an update on its investigation into a plane crash in northern Saskatchewan. Meaghan Craig with the details – Dec 20, 2017

Investigators have eliminated engine failure as the cause of a passenger plane crash in northern Saskatchewan.

All 25 people on board the West Wind Aviation plane survived, albeit seven with serious injuries, when it went down near the Fond du Lac airstrip after taking off on Dec. 13.

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WATCH ABOVE: The Transportation Safety Board says it has determined both engines were operating when the plane crashed in northern Saskatchewan last week.

There was no explosion or fire on impact.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said investigators examined both engines at the crash site and recovered the flight data recorder. The recorder has been sent to a lab in Ottawa for further analysis, but investigators say preliminary results confirm the engines were running until the plane hit the trees and the ground.

Left side view of the ATR-42 that crashed just after taking off from the Fond du Lac airport in northern Saskatchewan on Dec. 13, 2017.
Left side view of the ATR-42 that crashed just after taking off from the Fond du Lac airport in northern Saskatchewan on Dec. 13, 2017. Transportation Safety Board of Canada / Supplied

“What we have learned so far is that the engines were operating up to the point of impact,” Eric Vermette, a regional manager for the TSB, said at a briefing in Winnipeg on Wednesday. “Our investigators are wrapping up the field phase of the operation and will be leaving once the aircraft is moved to a secure location.

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“The examination and analysis phase is just starting and there is much work to be done.”

Vermette said they will also look at the fact all 25 passengers and crew survived.

“Part of the accident investigation is to look at the survivability of this accident,” Vermette said.

They haven’t yet determined what caused the crash, but investigators are still looking at weather conditions, runway length, aircraft maintenance, pilot training and operational policies.

They are also weighing the luggage that was on board the flight, but have yet to conclude whether the flight was over its weight limit.

READ MORE: First Nations call for better airstrips after northern Saskatchewan plane crash

Vermette said there’s no timeline for investigators to rule on the cause of the crash.

“We take the time required to ensure that we do a thorough investigation,” he said. “We will take the time required to make sure we’ve looked at all aspects and report on those.”

“If we do come up with any safety deficiencies as part of our investigation, we won’t sit on it and wait for the report to come out.”

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West Wind Aviation has grounded its other twin-engine ATR42-320 planes for the time being.

By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton

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