Beds, Herts & Bucks

'Low turn' caused plane crash that killed Milton Keynes family

Quebec seaplane crash Image copyright Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Image caption All six people on board, including a family from Milton Keynes, died in the crash

A seaplane crash that killed a UK family on a sightseeing trip in Canada was caused by a low-altitude turn, an investigation found.

Fiona and Richard Hewitt, aged 52 and 50, and their children Felicity, 17, and Harry, 14, died at Les Bergeronnes, Quebec, in August 2015.

A report said the pilot probably made the turn to give the family, of Milton Keynes, "a better view of wildlife".

The pilot and French passenger Emilie Delaitre also died in the crash.

Image caption The plane came down in woodland in the Les Bergeronnes area

An investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found that as pilot Romain Desrosiers made the turn, the aircraft "stalled, descended vertically and struck the ground", before catching fire.

The aircraft - a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver - had no stall-warning system and the TSB has now recommended those planes be equipped with the system.

"Despite the pilot's considerable experience, and even though he was an instructor on this aircraft type, he did not perceive that a stall was imminent when he made the turn," said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB.

'Favourable conditions'

The aircraft took off for the short sight-seeing flight at 11:04 and that day Mr Desrosiers had piloted three previous flights.

The crash happened at 11:27, killing all those on board, the report noted.

Investigators found weather conditions on the day were "favourable with calm winds and a clear sky".

Records showed Mr Desrosiers had worked 27 out of the 30 days before the fatal flight. A typical work day began around 08:30 and ended around 19:30, the TSB said.

Post-mortem examinations revealed the pilot had coronary heart disease, but investigators said this was not a factor in the accident.

The TSB added Mr Desrosiers managed to stop the aircraft from spinning before the crash, therefore "there was no indication of him experiencing a physiological event at the time of the accident".

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