The Transportation Safety Board can’t determine the cause of the 2016 plane crash that killed former Premier Jim Prentice and three others.
On October 13th, 2016, a Cessna Citation 550 crashed shortly after taking off from Kelowna en-route to Springbank, just west of Calgary – killing Prentice, along with another member of their family, Ken Gellatly, the father-in-law of one of their daughters.
The TSB released its findings into the incident Thursday. The investigation revealed the pilot had very little experience flying at night with just two-night takeoffs in the past six months, which doesn’t meet the TSB’s requirements.
However, Chair Kathy Fox says because there was no recorder on board they don’t really know what went wrong.
“They were not required by regulation, and therefore, we have no detailed sequence of what went on in the flight deck. All we have is a hypothesis, a scenario that doesn’t have enough facts to be definitive.”
One of those hypothesis includes the pilot experienced spatial disorientation, due to lack of recent night flying experience, and departed from controlled flight shortly after takeoff.
Fox says they don’t like having to say ‘We don’t know’ when asked what caused an accident, so in an effort to help provide definitive answers in the future, the TSB is recommending the mandatory installation of lightweight flight recording systems by all commercial and private business operators not currently required to carry them.
Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau says departmental officials are conducting a thorough review of the report and will provide a formal response to the Board within the required 90-day time frame.
“Transport Canada takes recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board very seriously and shares their goal of maintaining and improving the safety of Canada’s transportation network.”
Meanwhile, the Prentice family released a statement after the report was released. They say they’re proud of his contributions to Alberta, to Canada and to public service.
“But he was first and foremost a loving husband, father, grandfather, and sibling; we will always miss him,” the statement reads.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the other families impacted by this tragedy.”