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Passenger recalls deadly plane crash

A report has found a plane was overloaded and its wings covered with ice before it crashed in November 2012.

RCMP FILE PHOTO Enlarge Image

A report has found a plane was overloaded and its wings covered with ice before it crashed in November 2012.

After waiting through two hours of freezing rain, Jamie Kaczmar suspected something was amiss when a Gogal Air Services pilot started cleaning off his windshield with a credit card.

Peter Hildebrand: crash preventable

Enlarge Image

Peter Hildebrand: crash preventable

Then the pilot of another plane, the Cessna 208B Kaczmar was on, started using a broom to knock the ice off the wings just before takeoff at the Snow Lake airport. Minutes later on Nov. 18, 2012, the plane started lurching from side to side and up and down before the engine stalled.

"Then the pilot restarted the engine, and we drove it right into the ground," Kaczmar said.

With one broken vertebrae, eight broken ribs, two collapsed lungs, a bruised heart and kidneys and a sprained ankle, he slowly -- and painfully -- pulled himself out of the wreckage, which was about 1.6 kilometres beyond the end of the runway.

The other six passengers -- all of whom worked in the mining industry, did the same -- but the pilot wasn't as fortunate. Mark Gogal, 40, was killed.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its findings on the crash Thursday. Peter Hildebrand, manager of regional operations investigations, said the plane was about 270 kilograms over its maximum gross takeoff weight and the wings and tail were "contaminated" with ice.

"The more overweight you are, the higher the risk. If you operate with ice on your wings, the more ice, the higher the risk. If you have both of them together, the risk goes up very dramatically," Hildebrand said.

The report isn't about laying blame or criminal or civil liability, just assessing the risks, he said. The crash didn't have to happen, he said.

"There were risks that were incurred that certainly could have been prevented," he said.

 

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