Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Transportation Safety Board of Canada

May 24, 2006 10:00 ET

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada Releases its Final Report Into the Fatal Cessna Aircraft Crash Into Constance Lake, Ontario, in July 2005

GATINEAU, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 24, 2006) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its final investigation report (A05O0147) into the fatal collision with water of a Cessna A185F seaplane in Constance Lake, Ontario, on July 18, 2005. The TSB concluded that, for undetermined reasons, the aircraft cartwheeled after contacting the water and came to rest in an inverted position, and that the pilot was unable to exit the aircraft and he drowned.

The report also notes that Transport Canada has undertaken a risk assessment to identify the risks related to egress from submerged seaplanes and to identify the most effective means of mitigating those risks. In its report, the TSB raises safety concerns regarding occupants of submerged seaplanes who survive the accident and continue to be at risk of drowning inside the aircraft. In light of the potential loss of life associated with seaplane accidents on water, the TSB is concerned that seaplane occupants may not be adequately prepared to escape the aircraft after it becomes submerged. Of equal concern is that the rescuers, in this occurrence, could not access the cabin from outside.

The investigation revealed that the pilot had not flown a training flight with an instructor for more than four years and that this likely resulted in a degradation of his skills and decision-making processes. Also, the design of the door lock mechanism prevents opening of the doors from the outside when locked from the inside. The exterior door handles are not easily discernable when the handles are closed and the visibility is poor. The investigation also revealed that the pilot was not wearing his prescription glasses while flying and that the emergency locator transmitter switch was not in the armed position, preventing activation on impact.

On July 18, 2005, at approximately 1050 eastern daylight time, the Cessna A185F seaplane cartwheeled on the lake, travelling in a northwesterly direction and adjacent to the north shore of the eastern section of the lake. The aircraft came to rest inverted in the lake with most of the aircraft visible. It floated approximately 500 feet east, then came to rest on the bottom of the lake, with only the bottom of the floats visible. Some local residents attempted a rescue, but they were unable to get the pilot out of the aircraft.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation 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.

This communique is available on the TSB Web site at

Contact Information

  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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    Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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