Whiteout conditions and loss of situational awareness led to February 2013 Cessna crash in Waskada, Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, 17 February 2014 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (A13C0014) into the February 2013 collision with terrain of a Cessna 210C in Waskada, Manitoba.
At approximately 1230 Central Standard Time on 10 February 2013, the privately-registered Cessna 210C departed Waskada with a pilot and 3 passengers on board for a sightseeing flight in the local area. Approximately 30 minutes after the aircraft departed, fog moved into the area. At 1317, an emergency locator transmitter signal was received in the area. A search was undertaken; the wreckage was located 3 nautical miles north of Waskada. All occupants suffered fatal injuries.
The investigation determined that the terrain, coupled with the reported meteorological conditions, was conducive to whiteout, a winter atmospheric optical phenomenon in which the observer appears to be engulfed in a uniformly white glow. Whiteout conditions may result in a poorly defined visual horizon that will reduce the pilot's ability to visually detect changes in altitude, airspeed and position. If visual cues are sufficiently degraded, the pilot may lose control of the aircraft or fly into the ground.
Furthermore, the investigation found that the accident occurred in an area of gently rolling hills, which were completely covered in snow. The Board therefore concluded that the pilot likely flew inadvertently into a whiteout, lost situational awareness and lost control of the aircraft, which resulted in an impact with terrain.
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The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
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Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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