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Five people safe after float plane tips northeast of Fort Smith

July 12, 2021  By Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio

Four passengers and a pilot are recovering after a float plane rolled over while landing on a lake about 30 km northeast of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, on Saturday.

According to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), a DHC-3T Turbine Otter operated by Fort Smith-based Northwestern Air Lease touched down on the lake with its landing gear down.

“The aircraft subsequently nosed over and came to rest almost inverted on the lake,” a TSB spokesperson told Cabin Radio by email on Monday morning.

The pilot was able to get out of the cockpit door and swim to the back of the plane to help the passengers. A boat met the group to assist.


The pilot sustained minor injuries and the four passengers were uninjured, the safety board said.

Terry Harrold, an owner of Northwestern Air Lease, told Cabin Radio the company was working to retrieve the float plane from the lake.

The TSB said the incident is considered a Class 5 occurrence, meaning the situation “has little likelihood of identifying new safety lessons that will advance transportation safety.”

Investigations are “generally completed within 60 days,” according to the TSB, though no investigation report will be created with the data gathered in this instance.

“Class 5 occurrences are not subject to comprehensive investigations followed by an investigation report. However, data on Class 5 occurrences are recorded in suitable scope for possible future safety analysis, statistical reporting, or archival purposes,” the TSB spokesperson said.



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