TSB Investigation Report: Fatal collision with communication tower at the Sandy Lake Water Aerodrome, ON

Winnipeg, Manitoba, 29 November 2022 — Today, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its investigation report (A22C0035) into the 26 May 2022 collision with a communication tower involving a Cessna U206G aircraft at the Sandy Lake Water Aerodrome, ON.

The TSB conducted a limited-scope, class 4 investigation into this occurrence to advance transportation safety through greater awareness of potential safety issues. See the Policy on Occurrence Classification for more information.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Collision with obstacle on approach
Sandy Lake Seaplane Service Ltd.
Cessna U206G, C-GBGJ
Sandy Lake First Nation, Ontario
26 May 2022

History of the flight

At 1545Footnote1 on 26 May 2022, the Sandy Lake Seaplane Service Ltd. float-equipped Cessna U206G aircraft (registration C-GBGJ, serial number U20605249) departed Sandy Lake Water Aerodrome (CKE5), Ontario, for a personal flightFootnote2 to an unnamed lake located 41 nautical miles (NM) north-northeast of CKE5. The purpose of the flight was to bring boat fuel and groceries to the pilot’s cabin located at the unnamed lake. The weather was suitable for the visual flight rules flight, with nearby weather stations reporting winds generally at 10 knots or less, visibility 9 statute miles, and scattered clouds above 5500 feet above ground level (AGL).

At approximately 1830, the aircraft departed the unnamed lake for the return flight to CKE5. As the aircraft approached CKE5, the pilot transmitted position reports on the aerodrome traffic frequency. At 1853, when the aircraft was flying over the community of Sandy Lake First Nation on final approach for a south-southwest direction landing at CKE5, it struck a 132-foot-tall communications tower located at the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service’s Sandy Lake First Nation detachment. The aircraft subsequently collided with terrain and a post-impact fire ensued. The pilot was fatally injured.

The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) activated as a result of the impact and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ontario, received the signal at 1854. The Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and the Sandy Lake First Nation Fire Department responded to the scene.

Wreckage and impact information

During approach for landing on the lake, the occurrence aircraft struck the communications tower and then descended through a set of hydro lines before colliding with trees in a wooded area. The wreckage came to rest approximately 280 feet from the base of the communications tower. Approximately 80% of the airframe was consumed by the post-impact fire.

Damage to the propeller was indicative of contact with a metal object, suggesting that the propeller was rotating and the engine was producing power when the communications tower was struck. Antenna pieces found near the communications tower exhibited damage consistent with shear. This indicates that the aircraft hit the tower at approximately 126 feet AGL and laterally centered on the aircraft; in line with the propeller.

A portion of the right wing—near the wing tip and including the aileron—was found hanging from the hydro line. Damage to the wing tip was indicative of shear from the collision with the hydro line.

An inspection of all flight control cables did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. Inspections of both control wheels and columns were inconclusive due to fire damage. Examination of the flap actuator jackscrew extension suggests a flap setting of approximately 24° at the time of impact; however, inspection of the flap system for continuity was also inconclusive due to fire damage.

The 406 MHz ELT emitted a signal before it was destroyed in the fire.

More on the report…