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C185, Smithers BC Canada, 2000

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On 27 September 2000, a Cessna 185, struck a snow covered hillside, probably while in controlled flight, en-route from Smithers BC, Canada.
Event Details
When September 2000
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions IMC
Flight Details
Aircraft CESSNA 185 Skywagon
Operator Not Recorded
Type of Flight Private
Origin Smithers Airport
Intended Destination Whitehorse/Erik Nielsen International Airport
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Cruise
Approx. 80 nm NW of Smithers
Loading map...
Tag(s) Into terrain,
No Visual Reference,
VFR flight plan
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Fatalities Most or all occupants ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) None Made
Investigation Type
Type Independent


On 27 September 2000, a privately operated Cessna 185 with three occupants, struck a snow covered hillside, en-route from Smithers BC to White Horse, Yukon, Canada.


The following is an extract taken from the Summary from the Transport Safety Board (Canada) Aviation Investigation Report:

"The Cessna 185 aircraft…was purchased in Spokane, Washington, USA, on 27 September 2000 and test flown by the pilot that day. The vendor certified that all of the required maintenance was accomplished before selling the aeroplane. The next day the pilot departed Deer Park (north of Spokane), on a ferry flight to Alaska. At about 1200 Pacific daylight time, the aeroplane landed in Smithers, British Columbia, after a flight from Williams Lake. The pilot had the aeroplane refuelled, received a weather briefing, and filed a flight plan. The flight-planned route was from Smithers direct to Dease Lake, then direct to Whitehorse, Yukon. At 1217, the pilot and two passengers departed Smithers. At 1317, the Cospas-Sarsat system,(1) received an emergency locator transmitter signal from an area about 80 nautical miles northwest of Smithers. Search-and-rescue aircraft were dispatched; however, weather conditions hampered the search. The wreckage of the Cessna 185 was found at 1310 the next day at 5100 feet above sea level on a snow-covered, treeless hillside, at latitude 56°08' north and longitude 128°16' west. No fire had occurred. The three occupants were fatally injured."

The full TSB report of the Investigation was published on 24 May 2001 and concluded that:

"The aeroplane struck a hillside, probably while in controlled flight, for undetermined reasons…It is probable that the pilot continued visual flight in adverse weather conditions, which increased the risk of collision with terrain."

No Safety Recommendations were made.

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