Air Tindi accident was “not survivable”: Transportation Safety Board

Photo supplied by Air Tindi Website.
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The crash of a King Air 200 aircraft with two pilots on board was ‘not survivable‘ says investigator and western regional manager of the Transportation Safety Board Jon Lee.

Lee gave MyYellowknifeNow an update Friday morning as two TSB investigators work through their second day in ‘extremely challenging’ conditions including deep snow and wooded terrain.

“It was snowing at the time of the accident and also afterwards, so a lot of the parts and ground scars are covered up with snow now. So that’s making life at the accident site difficult in terms of trying to find all the pieces and get a sense of what we’re dealing with.”

Lee says it’s important for those involved in the search to know the pilots were not waiting for hours for rescue. The extent of damage at the site shows the crash would not have been survivable.

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“It’s a fairly long wreckage trail, it’s 300 metres in length. The aircraft was broken up quite extensively, in pieces.”

The Air Tindi plane lost contact with air traffic control Wednesday morning. It was carrying two pilots on a flight between Yellowknife and Whati. An extensive search Wednesday and Thursday by RCMP, Canadian Rangers and the Canadian Armed Forces located the crash site and the two pilots, deceased.


Investigators are working in an area 40 kilometres east northeast of Whati, west of the north end of Marian Lake.

Friday investigators are focused on finding a cockpit voice recorder they are told was on this flight. The device records 30-minute loops of what is transpiring in the cockpit. Lee says he hopes it was working at the time of the crash and can yield further information.

Lee says because of winter conditions and the fact that it snowed heavily before and after the crash, it may be before spring before parts important to the investigation are found.

“If we get lucky and we get what we really need, the investigation will go faster. But if we’re missing pieces and we can’t find them, we have to wait until the snow melts.”

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