Latest Floatplane Crash Kills Four In Canada


It’s been an especially deadly year for floatplane operators so far as Canadian authorities investigate a Cessna Caravan crash that killed four of the nine occupants. The charter operated by Seair of Richmond, near Vancouver, was flying from Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island to Calvert Island, off the central coast of British Columbia, when it went down in rain and low cloud on Addenbroke Island, which is adjacent to the destination island. Identities of the victims have not been released. The crash site is in a remote area popular with nature and fishing tourists.

Friday’s deaths bring to at least 25 the number of people who have died in at least seven floatplane crashes in North America since May. Most have been charter operations. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board will investigate the latest crash. Seair, the operator, suspended flights on Friday but resumed service on Saturday.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. “rain and low clouds”
    Since there are no precision approaches for water landings, one has to question why they were proceeding down in bad visibility and low IFR conditions.

  2. You can fly an approach to a nearby airport and break off for the waterway when you are clear of clouds. Without a doubt, obstruction avoidance in a floatplane is serious business. Google maps satellite view can assist planning. Synthetic vision can help but it is only as good as the data it has.

  3. Our family has an amphibious aircraft. Accidents can happen, especially in the northwest part of the country where weather can turn sour in seconds. However, there are times when you as passengers must say, “the weather is marginal, we should get a hotel tonight and sit tight until the weather clears up”. As pilots, and operators, you must have the courage to cancel a flight due to marginal weather. All the talk of technology, GPS, satellite assisted maps, etc., is SO FRUSTRATING AND TIRESOME. Technology won’t do anyone any good if you are speeding towards a mountain at 120 miles per hour in rain and fog. What a shame. Overconfidence and machismo is the first one to arrive at the funeral home.