THUNDER BAY – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) have deployed a team to North Spirit Lake, Ontario, to investigate the accident involving the Piper PA31 (Navajo) operated by Keystone Air Service Limited that resulted in four fatalities and one person injured. Additionally, members of the OPP North West Region, including the OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) responded, the OPP and NAPS are remaining on scene to assist the Transportation Safety Board of Canada in the investigation.
There has been some heated disussion on some of the Aviation Safety forums about the weather conditions yesterday in the area. Reports from the scene state that when the plane was attempting to land, blizzard conditions and a near whitehout were in effect.
Small planes like the Piper PA31 are not equiped with the ‘Black Box’ or flight data recorders that are on larger airliners. The task facing the TSB will likely come from an examination of the aircraft, information from witnesses on the ground, maintainance records on the aircraft, and the pilot.
There has been a crisis counselling team dispatched to North Spirit Lake First Nation to assist local residents in dealing with the accident. The small tight-knit community is struggling with the situation’s aftermath.
It is early in the investigation, but it is likely that weather conditions will be cited as a major issue in this accident.