Aviation news release 2011

TSB # A02/2011

'Common sense' fixes will make floatplane travel safer, says TSB

(Gatineau, Quebec, March 17, 2011) - The TSB says more can and must be done to make floatplane travel safer.

In its report into the 2009 fatal accident in Lyall Harbour, British Columbia, the TSB found the floatplane experienced an aerodynamic stall, before crashing into the water. It quickly sank and six of the eight persons on board drowned.

"For many on the British Columbia coast, floatplanes are a part of the daily commute," says Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "But floatplane travel is not without its risks and there have been far too many accidents," she added.

In Canada, from 1989 to 2010, 76 people have lost their lives in 109 floatplane crashes. In recent history, fifteen have died along the B.C. coast. This focused the Board's investigation on increasing the chances of survival after a crash.

Says Tadros, "We want to give passengers every chance to get out quickly and stay afloat 'til help arrives."

Her solution, "We are calling for doors and windows that come off easily after a crash and for everyone to wear a personal flotation device. These two recommendations are simple in concept - common sense really."

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca