Float plane accident ‘straightforward,’ safety board says

A chance gust of wind is being blamed for causing a float plane to overturn on Lakeland Bay just east of here a week ago Saturday, according to a report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
It also is known now that the mishap occurred after the pilot aborted a take-off attempt.
John Hannah, a safety board engineer based in Winnipeg, who interviewed the pilot and seven passengers, noted in his report that the aircraft had passed a point of land shortly after lift-off when the wind gusts increased in strength and changed direction.
“The pilot reported that the heading of the aircraft suddenly changed from southwesterly to northwesterly,” the report read. “[He] became doubtful that the aircraft could clear the shore and the trees, which were now in the aircraft’s path, and elected to reduce engine power and land.
“As the aircraft was touching down, the gusty wind lifted the tail and flipped the aircraft on its back in about seven feet of water,” it continued.
Although the safety board does not assign fault, nor determine civil or criminal liability, the data printout from Hannah’s office implied the accident was the result of a sudden occurrence and not negligence.
In fact, he noted the incident didn’t even require a full-fledged investigation team to be sent to the accident scene.
“We decided this thing was straightforward enough that we didn’t have to go out there,” he said.
The 10-seater, single-engine Otter flipped over on Rainy Lake around 10 a.m. on May 16. All eight people aboard were able to exit the aircraft safely, and were picked up by a boat shortly afterwards.
No one was injured although one woman was taken to La Verendrye hospital for observation.