Plane not de-iced prior to Fond-du-Lac crash: TSB

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WATCH ABOVE: TSB says a West Wing plane that crashed at Fond-du-Lac, Sask., last December was not de-iced prior to takeoff. Meaghan Craig with details in the ongoing investigation – Apr 24, 2018

An initial report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said a plane that crashed shortly after takeoff last December in northern Saskatchewan had ice on it, but added it’s too soon to determine if it was a factor that contributed to the crash.

TSB said the aircraft encountered icing conditions while landing late in the afternoon on Dec. 13 at Fond-du-Lac. The crew activated the onboard anti-icing and de-icing systems, but residual ice remained on parts of the aircraft when the systems were turn off.

The West Wind Aviation plane was not de-iced after taking on new passengers and cargo, and commenced to take off again “with ice contamination on the aircraft.”
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The ATR 42-320, with 22 passengers and three crew, crashed shortly afterwards into trees and terrain just over a kilometre away from the runway.

Nine people were seriously injured and one passenger later died in hospital. Sixteen other people were injured.

West Wind had de-icing equipment available at the terminal, consisting of two ladders, a hand-held spray bottle with an electric blanket and wand, and a container of de-icing fluid.

West Wind de-icing equipment available at Fond-du-Lac Airport in northern Saskatchewan. TSB Canada / Supplied

TSB also said on Tuesday that the flight’s takeoff weight was below its maximum takeoff weight, the centre of gravity was within limits, and both pilots were certified and qualified.

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Officials have not said when the final report into the cause of the crash will be released, stating “there are often many factors that can contribute to an accident,” and a number of steps still need to be undertaken before making a final determination.

Some of those steps include examining the factors as to why the plane was not de-iced prior to takeoff, determining the adequacy of the de-icing equipment at the airport, and analyzing data about aircraft operations in remote Canadian locations.

West Wind Aviation said in a statement it continues to remember those affected by the crash and are working “with authorities including the Transportation Safety Board accident investigators, as well as Transport Canada.”

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