News release

Transportation Safety Board investigates fatal accident in Antarctica involving Kenn Borek Air Ltd. Twin Otter

Gatineau, Quebec, 19 March 2013 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will conduct a full and independent investigation into the fatal January 2013 crash of a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter operated by Kenn Borek Air Ltd. in Antarctica. The crew of three lost their lives in the accident.

On 23 January 2013, the Twin Otter was on a repositioning flight from South Pole Station, Antarctica, to Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica, with a crew of three on board. There had been no radio communication from the aircraft and the flight was considered overdue. An emergency locator transmitter signal was received and search and rescue (SAR) was initiated. Extreme weather conditions hampered the SAR operation, preventing access to the site for two days. Once on site, the SAR team reported the aircraft's crew did not survive. Adverse weather conditions, the effects of high altitude, unstable snow conditions and the state of the aircraft prevented the recovery of their bodies.

The TSB is conducting this investigation because the crew was Canadian, the aircraft was registered and manufactured in Canada, and there may be significant safety findings. "Everything we know at this stage points to a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident, which is an issue on the TSB's Watchlist," said Mark Clitsome, Director of Air Investigations.

The TSB has examined the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder (CVR). However, it did not record the accident flight. Investigators will continue to gather and analyze information to determine the causes and contributing factors of the accident.

TSB investigators are liaising with the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission, which has been assisting the TSB from the outset. The TSB will assess which components need to be recovered from the wreckage to help determine what happened, and will develop a plan to recover them when the weather permits.

The findings will be made public in a report at the conclusion of the investigation.

Collision with land and water is a TSB Watchlist issue. Watch the video!

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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053