Monday, April 07, 2014

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Sonicblue Airways, C-GRXZ: Accident occurred January 21, 2006 in Port Alberni, BC, Canada

The owner of an airline who sued Transport Canada for $10 million to $12 million after going out of business following a crash that killed three people has had his case dismissed in court.

Ranjit Singh Gill was the sole shareholder and director of International Express Aircharter (IEA) Ltd., the company that operated the Sonicblue Airways plane that crashed on Vancouver Island on a flight between Tofino and Vancouver on Jan. 21, 2006.

Edward Huggett, the 25-year-old pilot, Terry Douglas, a 58-year-old Edmonton businessman, and three-year-old Braeden Hale of Tofino were killed when the Cessna Caravan aircraft had a loss of engine power and crashed. Five passengers were seriously injured.

In the wake of the tragedy, the Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation and concluded in August 2007 that a manufacturing defect in a blade in a turbine caused the loss of engine power.

The day after the crash, Transport Canada, concerned that there was a link between the accident and the company’s poor aviation record, convened a meeting of officials and decided to suspend IEA’s operating certificate.

The company, which was forced into bankruptcy as a result of the suspension, appealed the decision and a tribunal found that regulatory officials had erred and sent the decision back for reconsideration.

In February 2008, the suspension was upheld.

Gill sued Transport Canada, making a number of allegations, including that Transport Canada owed the company a duty of care and that the suspension was issued without adequate or any grounds for doing so.

He sought damages for recovery of economic losses in the amount of $10 million to $12 million.

But in a ruling released Monday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Greyell found that the interaction between the company and the defendants did not give rise to a duty of care, and dismissed the claims of negligence.

The judge also dismissed an allegation that there was malfeasance in public office.


NTSB Identification: SEA06WA046
Accident occurred Saturday, January 21, 2006 in Port Alberni, Canada
Aircraft: Cessna 208B, registration:
Injuries: 3 Fatal,4 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On January 21, 2006, approximately 1610 Pacific standard time, a Canadian-registered Cessna 208B, C-GRXZ, experienced a loss of engine power, and subsequently collided with trees during an attempted off-field forced landing about 18 nautical miles southeast of Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada. The pilot and two of his passengers received fatal injuries, the remaining four passenger received serious injuries, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The scheduled commercial passenger flight, which departed Toffino, British Columbia, about 16 minutes prior to the time the aircraft lost power, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. The flight, which was originally en route to Vancouver, British Columbia, attempted to divert to the airport at Port Alberni once engine power was lost.

According to the Canadian Safety Board, the pilot was not able to stretch the glide far enough to reach the airport, and he eventually tried to land on a logging road in wooded mountainous terrain about 11 nautical miles south southeast of Port Alberni.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the government of Canada. Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Mr. Bill Yearwood
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
#8-3701 Number Five Road
Richmond, British Columbia
Canada V6X2T4
604 323-3556

This report is for informational purposes only, and contains information released by the government of Canada.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability. 

Aviation Investigation Report

Engine Power Loss ñ Forced Landing
Sonicblue Airways
Cessna 208B (Caravan) C-GRXZ
Port Alberni, British Columbia, 11 nm SSE
21 January 2006
Report Number A06P0010

Synopsis:    The Cessna 208B aircraft (registration C-GRXZ, serial number 208B0469) was en route at 9000 feet above sea level, from Tofino, British Columbia, to Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, when the engine failed. The pilot began a glide in the direction of the Port Alberni Regional Airport before attempting an emergency landing on a logging road. The aircraft struck trees during a steep right-hand tu rn and crashed. The accident occurred at about 1420 Pacific standard time, approximately 11 nm south-southeast of the Port Alberni Regional Airport. Five passengers survived with serious injuries; the pilot and the other two passengers were fatally injured.