Wawa Plane Crash: Snow was not Cleared from the Runway Before Touchdown

The investigation conducted by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) regarding the plane crash at Wawa Municipal Airport on November 27 has been concluded. The incident resulted in minor injuries to the small crew aboard the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 aircraft.

The TSB investigators found that snowy conditions on the runway led to the aircraft sliding into a drainage ditch, rendering it irreparably damaged. However, a significant factor contributing to the crash was identified as miscommunication between the flight crew and the ground crew.

According to the report released on the TSB website, there was a discrepancy in the understanding of when the runway would be cleared of snow. The flight crew, representing Thunder Airlines Ltd., departed from Thunder Bay Airport around 6:53 AM for a medical transfer to Sault Ste. Marie via Wawa Airport.

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 aircraft Crashed at Wawa

Despite contacting the Wawa airport around 5:49 AM to inquire about runway conditions, the flight crew’s understanding was that the runway would be plowed by approximately 7:30 AM.

However, the aerodrome staff planned to clear the runway by 9:00 AM. During the approach, despite observing snow on the runway, the flight crew proceeded to land based on their previous communication with airport staff.

Unfortunately, the aircraft touched down on six to eight inches of snow, causing it to slide off the runway and come to rest on its left side in a drainage ditch.

The crash resulted in extensive damage to the aircraft, with the fuselage being penetrated by the right engine propeller blades. The occupants, consisting of two pilots and a paramedic, sustained minor injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The TSB report highlighted several procedural gaps. Despite maintaining radio contact with air traffic control, the flight crew failed to communicate with anyone on the ground using radios upon approach. Additionally, they did not contact London’s Flight Information Centre for assistance in obtaining local runway conditions.

Furthermore, the report revealed that the captain piloting the aircraft, who was in training, did not meet the company’s requirement for hours to serve as the pilot-in-charge on medical flights. The senior captain, with more flight hours, was performing the pilot monitoring duties during the flight.

Following the incident, Thunder Airlines issued an operations bulletin mandating confirmation of suitable runway conditions before takeoff and landing. This information will be incorporated into the company’s standard operating procedures.

Regarding the Wawa ground crew, the TSB report noted that none of the staff had a radio at the time of the crash, contrary to the Wawa Airport Manual requirement. The manual stipulates that staff must carry one of the aerodrome’s radios when outside the terminal building.

The Municipality of Wawa did not respond to requests for comment.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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