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Alcohol in pilot’s blood in crash that killed former Air Tindi man

The pilot of a plane that crashed in BC in April – killing a former Air Tindi employee – had a “significant amount of alcohol” in his blood at the time.

The BC Coroners Service delivered that verdict on Wednesday as it examined the deaths of Captain Robert Brandt and former Air Tindi pilot Kevin Wang.

Brandt, according to the coroner’s report, had a blood alcohol level of 0.24 percent on the day – several times the legal limit for drivers and far beyond the stricter rules imposed on pilots.

No drugs or alcohol were found in the blood of 32-year-old Wang, who had just left Air Tindi in Yellowknife to work with Brandt at Vancouver-based Carson Air.

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Wang’s widow, Lillian Luo, told the CBC: “I’m not saying the cause of the accident is the captain being intoxicated, but whether or not the accident has happened, this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated.

“Have they done anything to make sure that none of their pilots is intoxicated before the flight?”

Background: Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigation

Wang spent five years working for Air Tindi in Yellowknife, where he earned a reputation for reliability and professionalism.

He was the co-pilot alongside 34-year-old Brandt when their twin-engine Carson Air cargo flight, bound for Prince George from Vancouver, went missing on the morning of April 13. The wreckage was found in the North Shore mountains. Both men were dead.

The plane had no black box – the cause of the crash is still being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board and the coroner. It’s not clear what, if any, role in the crash was played by the level of alcohol in Brandt’s system.

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In a statement, Carson Air vice-president Kevin Hillier said: “The news was troubling as it is contrary to our policies and practices. The company has operated for over 25 years with an exemplary safety record.

“Internally, we are continuing to work with staff to ensure our high standards of safe flights, safe aircraft and a safe workplace are maintained.”

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