Fraser River plane crash: No sign of student, flight instructor 1 year later

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Alyse Kotyk, Reporter, CTVNewsVancouver.ca | Monday, June 7, 2021

(TSB graphic)

Sunday marks one year since a small plane crashed into the Fraser River between Maple Ridge and Langley. It still hasn’t been found.

VANCOUVER — The one-year mark passed over the weekend of a small plane going down in the Fraser River and there has still been no sign of the aircraft or the two people who were on board.

An instructor and a student were onboard the 1972 Cessna 172M for a local training flight from Boundary Bay Airport on June 6, 2020.

The plane took off just before 1 p.m. that day and minutes later, the instructor on board contacted an air traffic control tower in Pitt Meadows for permission to enter the control zone.

According to the Transportation Safety Board’s report into the incident, someone working in the tower said the aircraft couldn’t be accommodated, and directed the instructor and student to Langley instead. 

The TSB’s investigation showed that 12 minutes after takeoff, the plane started to descend as it flew over the Fraser River. The TSB says radar contact was lost three minutes later and, a minute after that, the plane struck a power transmission line that was strung across the Fraser River.

“Of course hitting a power line at cruising speed in a Cessna probably killed both occupants instantly and tore the airplane apart so that it wasn’t complete when it dropped into the Fraser River,” Keith Mackey, an aviation expert, told CTV News Vancouver on the anniversary of the plane going down.

Witnesses reported at the time seeing the plane crash into the river. Police searched with helicopters, boats and divers trying to locate the locate the aircraft.

An investigation into the crash is still ongoing.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione