Investigators continue to look for cause of Snow Lake crash; call for new rules

Associated Press

WINNIPEG - The Transportation Safety Board is still trying to determine the cause of a plane crash in northern Manitoba that killed one person and left seven others injured.

Regional manager Peter Hildebrand says investigators are still piecing together what happened before the small Cessna 208B went down in Snow Lake Nov. 18.

Hildebrand says there is already one conclusion that can be drawn from the crash — that more safety regulations are needed for small aircraft.

The safety board is reiterating a call for the federal government to require flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders on small planes, as it already does on larger ones.

Hildebrand says the so-called air taxis — planes with fewer than nine seats — should also be required to have safety management systems in place as larger planes do.

The Snow Lake plane was carrying passengers who worked for Dumas Mine Contracting when it went down shortly after takeoff, killing the pilot, 40-year-old Mark Gogal.

"We've seen too many air taxi accidents, often with fatalities, and Snow Lake is another example," Hildebrand said.

"Over the last 10 years, 91 per cent of commercial aircraft accidents in Canada involved smaller operators."

The TSB has counted 134 deaths from air taxi crashes over the past decade — some 77 per cent of all air traffic fatalities. It has previously called on Transport Canada to toughen safety standards for smaller aircraft, but has not had a response, Hildebrand said.

As to why air taxis account for a high percentage of accidents, Hildebrand said there is no one factor.

"They're just having a lot more accidents from every type of risk, from collisions with other aircraft, flight into adverse weather, collisions with terrain, loss of control ... all the phases of flight are represented in these accidents."

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