Design flaw may have caused three deaths in summer plane crash

Flaps shown blocking door. Photo courtesy of the Transportation Safety Board
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A design flaw in a flipped Cessna U206G aircraft could be part of what caused the death of three passengers.

On August 16th, 2018 an Air Simpson float-equipped plane’s wing caught in the water during the landing decent causing the plane to flip. The pilot and front passenger were able to get out of the plane, but three passengers drowned in the cabin. The plane sunk in Little Doctor Lake, outside of Fort Simpson.

The Transportation Safety Board has released a report stating the aircraft had its flaps positioned where it was blocking the rear cargo doors. The board also states the impact force was within the range of survivability and that no passengers received immobilizing injuries.

The pilot dove back into the water to attempt to assist the three passengers in the cabin but was unable to open the door as it was locked from the inside. The investigation was unable to determine the efforts made by the three passengers in the cabin to escape the cabin.

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The three passengers who died as a result of the crash were 33-year-old Geoffrey Dean, 72-year-old Jean Edelman and 72-year-old Stewart Edelman.

An examination of the plane determined the cabin door handles were placarded as required. The doors and door frames were not damaged or distorted during the accident and all doors and latches functioned normally.

The Transportation Safety Board says that there have been five accidents in the US and Canada since 1989 where the door was blocked by the extended flaps. The Transportation Safety Board notes that the investigation is still ongoing.

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