News release

Additional tasks during single-pilot aerial inspection increased risk of loss of control in fatal 2012 Cessna crash in Claresholm, Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta, 16 August 2013 – Today, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released its investigation report (A12W0121) into the Cessna 172M that lost control and collided with terrain in August 2012, in Claresholm, Alberta.

On 26 August 2012, an Alta Flights Ltd. Cessna 172M departed the Springbank Airport in Alberta on a pipeline patrol flight. While the aircraft was circling a pipeline stream crossing near the Chain Lakes Reservoir near Claresholm, Alberta, it entered into a spin, descended steeply, and collided with terrain. The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and there was no post-impact fire.

The investigation found that, for undetermined reasons, control was lost while manoeuvring to take photographs during a low-level pipeline reconnaissance and the aircraft started to spin. Although the pilot was able to arrest the spin, the low altitude of the aircraft prevented recovery prior to striking the ground. The TSB noted in its report that there is an increased risk of loss of control when single-pilot, low-level aerial inspections include additional tasks beyond flying the aircraft, such as photography.  


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