Canadian Investigation of Twin Otter Accident Inconclusive

 - June 30, 2014, 4:25 PM

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said in a June 20 report that it was unable to determine the reason why a de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter operated by Kenn Borek Air flew into terrain on January 23 last year during a VFR flight from South Pole Station to Terra Nova Bay. All three people on board perished in the crash. The flight was initially considered overdue after the crew failed to make a required position report. While an ELT signal was detected shortly thereafter, poor weather at the Mount Elizabeth crash site–approximately 12,500 feet agl–prevented the search-and-rescue team from reaching the wreckage for two days. Adverse weather, the high altitude and the condition of the aircraft also prevented the recovery of the crew and a comprehensive examination of the aircraft. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and a satellite-tracking unit were recovered from the exposed tail section of the aircraft; however, the CVR was later determined to have been inoperative on the day of the accident. While the lack of the CVR prevented a complete understanding of the accident, the investigation team was able to gather enough information to conclude that the crew made a turn before reaching the open region of the Ross Shelf. The aircraft may have entered an area covered by cloud that obstructed the view of nearby Mount Elizabeth, with the result that the Twin Otter crashed into the mountain’s rising terrain.