Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Transportation Safety Board recommends drug and alcohol tests for pilots after deadly 2015 plane crash


Pilot of cargo plane that crashed en route from Vancouver to Prince George in 2015 had blood alcohol content of 0.24%

TSB unable to confirm exact cause of fatal plane crash in 2015

The wreckage of the Carson Air flight that broke up enroute from Vancouver to Prince George in April 2015. 

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Transportation Safety Board is recommending drug and alcohol tests and substance abuse programs for pilots.

This follows a fatal in-flight break up of a cargo plane en route from Vancouver to Prince George in April 2015. The crash killed the pilot and co-pilot of the Carson Air flight, which was found in mountainous terrain the day after it happened.

“Only a few weeks into the investigation, toxicology results received from the coroner showed that the captain had a blood alcohol content of 0.24 percent, meaning he had consumed a significant amount of alcohol on the day of the occurrence,” says Kathy Fox with the Transportation Safety Board.

“Based upon the captain’s high blood alcohol content, his physical and mental performance would have been significantly impaired,” says Jason Kobi with the TSB. “He might even have slipped into unconsciousness during the flight. However, even if the captain had been, for example, slumped forward toward the controls, we found no indication that the first officer was incapacitated and he should still have been able to gain control of the aircraft.”

Fox adds once investigators learned about his impairment, it became a part of the investigation.

“What we learned has nationwide implications, ultimately leading to the recommendation we are issuing today — and that is for Transport Canada to work with the aviation industry and employee representatives to develop requirements for a comprehensive substance abuse program, including drug and alcohol testing, to reduce the risk of on-the-job impairment for those in safety-sensitive positions.”

She says Transport Canada regulations and many companies prohibit flying while impaired, the guidelines rely on self-policing.

“Rules and self-policing are not always adequate. What’s needed is something more, especially for safety-sensitive positions where, to be plain, people’s lives could be at stake.”

Investigation into cause of plane crash inconclusive

Kobi says the morning of the crash seemed like a typical start to the day, with no reports of unusual behavior from the pilot or co-pilot.

“Shortly after takeoff… the aircraft climbed through 7,500 feet… the crew acknowledged clearance to climb to their cruising altitude of 20,000 feet. Then, nothing — 80 seconds after that final conversation with Air Traffic Control, the aircraft disappeared from radar. There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorders on board.”

The TSB has previously made recommendations that recorders be mandatory on small planes, adding the lack of hard data makes it difficult for investigators to determine the cause of crashes.

Kobi adds investigators were never able to determine exactly what led up to the 2015 crash, but says the pilot’s impairment was almost certainly a factor. He notes they can’t rule out the possibility that the crash was intentional.

“The investigation identified a number of flight-specific factors consistent with an intentional act. These include the aircraft’s descent and the direction of flight, its full nose-down trim setting, the duration of the dive, the absence of any type of emergency communication, and the absence of any apparent recovery action during the descent. The investigation also identified other possibly coincidental factors to corroborate this, including the presence of physical health indicators of long-term heavy alcohol use [and] the fact that there is a significant relationship between alcohol use and suicidal behaviour.

“The investigation could not conclude anything about the captain’s pre-disposition to commit an intentional act.”

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

Jim B said...

No amount or expense of substance abuse testing will prevent a person who already knows better from killing themselves in (any) machine that has no tolerance for poor performance.

As for the first officer, this is really the mystery. A non-suicidal person will not deliberately allow a preventable crash. But another question is, a non-suicidal pilot would not deliberately fly with a captain who was unable to perform unless that person with responsibilities was being threatened with job termination.

The conclusion to this matter I believe is premature. There is more evidence under the rug that has not been brought to light and if the investigators [finish] the investigation to a proper conclusion then a fully credible cause will be determined.

I say look at the bank records. Where the money is/was going will lead you to the answer.

Breathalyzer and urine tests can be thwarted by many means even under close supervision by people who are hiding a secret.