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Safety board concludes pilot error caused Nanaimo floatplane crash

Sep 21 2012

Transportation Safety Board officials have concluded that pilot error was the cause of a plane flipping over when it tried to land on Second Lake just south of Nanaimo on Tuesday morning.
Vince Crooks, an investigator with the safety board, said his staff had spoken with the 70-year-old pilot and are convinced that the landing wheels were down on the homemade, Christavia two-seater ultralight floatplane as it tried to land on the lake around 11 a.m.
"These planes are purchased as a kit and assembled by the purchaser," Crooks said. "It flipped over as soon as one of the wheels hit the water is our initial assessment."
Crooks said the agency must still examine the aircraft that was built from a kit but "all indications are that he inadvertently lowered his landing gear as he was approaching to land at the lake."
Mike Bennie and his fishing buddy King Pauze, members of the Nanaimo Fish and Game Club, were just launching their 12-foot aluminum boat when they saw the plane flip over in the lake.
"The plane was right in the middle of the lake and we headed out towards it immediately," he said.
When they arrived, the 70-year-old pilot and his golden retriever were on either side of the plane but both were in good condition.
"We got them both in our boat and took them to the beach where a fellow in a mechanical truck was. He called 911 and the ambulance came to look after the pilot. King and I went back to the plane and we towed it into shore at the west end of the lake."
Bennie said he wanted to clarify early reports based on an RCMP news release that said a logging company towed the plane to the shore.
"No, that was us. The police were on the shore and nobody from the RCMP ever asked us anything about it."
Paramedics took the pilot to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for observation and he was later released.
Neither the RCMP or safety board would release the name of the pilot.

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