Fatal plane crash near Tofino, B.C., raises possible issues

RICHMOND, B.C. — An investigation into a fatal plane crash north of Tofino, B.C., last December has raised potential safety issues for other pilots.

The plane went down as the pilot and only person in the Cessna 172H was conducting air sampling for an American government project examining greenhouse gas.

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The Transportation Safety Board says the pilot died and the plane was destroyed when it crashed into woods in steep terrain in Stewardson Inlet, about 40 kilometres north of Tofino.

A board report couldn't pinpoint the cause of the crash, saying there was enough fuel aboard, the aircraft had been maintained and passed its annual inspection and the engine was still working on impact.

The report says it couldn't determine if weather was a factor, but the plane was flying in conditions likely to produce thunderstorms, hail or possible icing and it's important for pilots to assess all weather information before leaving.

The plane didn't have an emergency locator transmitter that could have been detected by the upgraded satellite search system, a situation the safety board says is common in more than half of all Canadian-registered aircraft.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2020.

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