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AT43, vicinity Fond-du-Lac SK Canada, 2017

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Summary
On 13 December 2017, an ATR 42-300 crashed shortly after a night takeoff from Fond-du-Lac and was destroyed. There was no fire and although all occupants were injured, nine seriously, there was only one fatality. Both engines were operating at impact and a significant wreckage path through trees led up to the impact site. It is also known that although the aircraft took off within the maximum allowable takeoff weight and within the permitted centre of gravity range, it was not de-iced prior to departure and some airframe ice contamination is reported to have been present. The Investigation is ongoing.
Event Details
When December 2017
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions Not Recorded
Flight Details
Aircraft ATR ATR-42-300/320
Operator West Wind Aviation
Domicile Canada
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Fond-du-Lac Airport
Intended Destination Stony Rapids Airport
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Climb
ICL / ENR
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity Fond-du-Lac Airport
EPR
Tag(s) Emergency Evacuation,
Evacuation Injuries
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Injuries Most or all occupants
Fatalities Few occupants (1)
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 13 December 2017, ATR 42-320 (C-GWEA) being operated by West Wind Aviation on a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Fond-du-Lac to Stony Rapids as flight WEW282 descended into trees one minute after making a night take-off from Fond du Lac and was destroyed by the subsequent terrain impact. Nine of the 25 occupants sustained serious injuries from which one subsequently died and the other 16 occupants all sustained minor injuries.

The wreckage of the front of the aircraft. [Reproduced from the Canadian TSB Investigative Update]

Investigation

An Investigation by the Canadian TSB is continuing. The FDR and CVR have been recovered and relevant data has been successfully downloaded from both and is being analysed. Some components with NVM which may contain useful information have also been recovered. A UAS was used to record on-site evidence.

It has been established that the aircraft collided with trees and then terrain less than a mile west of the end of Runway 28 at Fond du Lac, from which it had just taken off, with both engines still operating at impact. There was no post crash fire. The position of final impact was close to the extended centreline of the take-off runway and a “wreckage path” at least 250 metres long has been found leading to the final impact position. The aircraft came to rest with the forward fuselage section rotated 90° to the right and the remainder rotated about 35° to the right. The position of the fuselage rupture corresponded approximately to that of seat row 3.

The wreckage of the rear of the aircraft. [Reproduced from the Canadian TSB Investigative Update]
Editor's Notes
  1. The Aerodrome Chart current at the time of the accident includes a note to the effect that runway 28 Departures are predicated on being able to climb visually “over the airport to 1700 feet before proceeding on course. Although no official weather reports are quoted for Fond du Lac around the time of the accident, the weather conditions at the flight’s destination, about 65 nm to the east, were sub zero temperatures with a surface visibility of 2-3 statute miles and a cloud base of 1700-1900 feet.
  2. On 22 December, 2017, Transport Canada announced that it had suspended West Wind Aviation’s Air Operator Certificate which action “prohibits the company from providing commercial air services”. It explained that “the department took this serious action in the interest of public safety because the department identified deficiencies in the company’s Operational Control System” and noted that “an Operational Control System ensures that a company’s day-to-day actions are compliant with safety requirements for things such as, for example, the dispatching of personnel and aircraft”.

An Initial Investigative Update was released on 27 December 2017. At that date, it was noted that West Wind Aviation was not flying its remaining ATR aircraft “while it conducts an internal review of its operations”.

A further Investigative Update was released on 23 Aril 2018. This notes that it has been found that the take off weight was below the MTOW and that the centre of gravity as loaded was within limits. This update also stated that it has been found that during the descent into Fond du Lac on its previous sector, the aircraft encountered icing conditions and the anti-icing and de-icing systems were activated. However when these systems were turned off after flight, there had still been some ice on parts of the aircraft when it departed 46 minutes later. It has also now been established that the although the Operator had some de-icing equipment available at the airport which consisted of “two ladders, a hand-held spray bottle with electric blanket and wand and a container of de-icing fluid”, the accident aircraft had not been de-iced during the turnround.