Safety

Four people killed, five injured, in float plane crash on B.C. coast

A Cormorant rescue helicopter (photo: Facebook/Maritime Forces Pacific).

Four people were killed Friday, and five people injured, when a Seair Seaplanes Cessna 208 float plane crashed on Addenbroke Island, about 100 km north of Port Hardy, British Columbia.

“We can confirm there has been a serious accident involving a Seair Seaplanes Caravan floatplane north of Vancouver Island,” Seair said in a tweet late Friday afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with those involved in the crash and their loved ones and are devastated by this fatal accident. We are currently working with first responders and authorities and have immediately suspended all flights.”

“Seair Seaplanes operates one of the most luxurious and newest seaplane fleets in North America – scrupulously maintained to the strictest of standards,” the company says on its website.

The company calls the Cessna Caravan the flagship of the fleet, bought directly from the factory.

Nine people were aboard the aircraft as it flew a charter to Calvert Island.

A Coromant helicopter and a Buffalo aircraft were dispatched from Canadian Forces Base Comox in the rescue attempt. A B.C. ferry and two coast guard ships were also in the area.

Survivors were being airlifted aboard the Cormorant to Port Hardy for treatment, and arrived by 6:40. Transport Canada said it was working with emergency responders to receive survivors.

Of the five survivors, two were in critical condition and sent to hospital in Vancouver, and three were in serious, but stable, condition. They were being treated at local hospitals Friday evening.

The plane crashed on the remote island along B.C.’s central coast around 11 Friday morning.

It’s too early to know why the plane crashed. Forecasts along the route called for overcast conditions, with periods of light rain with localized fog and ceilings as low as 200 feet above ground level.

Cessna 208 Caravans typically seat up to nine passengers, and are frequently used as float planes along British Columbia’s rugged coast. They are the largest single-engine floatplane in production.

The Transportation Safety Board said there were 19% fewer aviation accidents in 2018 compared to the previous year, continuing a downward trend over the past decade.

The TSB has reported on seven incidents and accidents involving Cessna Caravans type in the past 20 years.

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