Unlike others, I'm willing to speculate. Not because I think this is what happened in the crash, but because of a known safety issue with floatplanes and one that is particularly bad with the Cessna 206 in general.NorthernNews wrote: ↑Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:13 pmGood day. My name is Brendan Burke and I'm a reporter with News/North based in Yellowknife, NWT. With this forum being a wealth of a knowledge for all things aircraft related, I'm reaching out to you and other experienced posters in an effort to clarify/understand some things related to Thursday's fatal Cessna 206 airplane crash near Nahanni National Park Reserve. First and foremost, I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies to the victims and their families.Slats wrote: ↑Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:16 pmTerrible two days for Fort Simpson based aviation first with the CBD6 crash and a day later, this.
I've long maintained that the 206 is a terribly unsafe design for a float plane. If beaver doors have been redesigned for better egress, this aircraft should not even be allowed in commercial float ops, in my opinion.
My sincere condolences and thoughts go to everyone affected by this very sad and tragic event.
As you can imagine with the investigation being in its infancy, little information is coming out by way of NWT RCMP and the Transportation Board of Canada. That said, I've learned this morning that the plane crashed during a route landing at Little Doctor Lake (a theory made by a poster above that can now be confirmed).
Here's an excerpt from this morning's update:
"The Cessna 206 airplane involved in Thursday’s fatal accident that claimed the lives of three tourists was landing when it crashed near Nahanni National Park Reserve, says Ted Grant, owner of the flightseeing aircraft company Simpson Air.
Five people were on board the plane when it went down at Little Doctor Lake just after 6:30 p.m. Three tourists – two people from Saskatchewan and another from Alberta – were killed in the crash. A female pilot and a female passenger survived. The two women were uninjured in the crash.
“(The passengers were on) a day tour of the Nahanni National Park. They’d already been to Virginia Falls and spent a couple hours touring at the falls and then they were on their way back here to (Fort) Simpson,” Grant told News/North Monday.
“Normally we do a stop there at Little Doctor Lake for 20 minutes or half an hour and that’s where the airplane was landing when the incident happened,” he said.
When you hear that two people, a pilot and a passenger, left the crash unharmed while three others perished, what immediately comes to mind as how that could have happened? The plane is clearly a tiny aircraft, and I've been told the deaths could have arisen from where the passengers were positioned inside the plane.
In short, to fill in blanks for our readers and paint a picture as to what could have occurred, what do you think likely happened to the the plane and its passengers when it crashed on landing? Could the aircraft have been inverted on impact, etc.? Any fact and experience-based responses/theories/scenarios would be greatly appreciated.
I cannot thank you enough and look forward to hopefully speaking with you further.
I'm not sure if it is the majority, but many deaths in sea plane accidents occur because of drowning. Often the crash or impact is survivable and the occupants are uninjured or have minor injuries and are conscious. This is whether the plane is right side up, upside down, sideways, etc other than an extreme crash which results in cartwheeling or aircraft breakup.
The passengers have to find and don their life vests, undo their seat belts, open the door against water pressure unless the aircraft cabin is completely filled, and inflate their life vest. They must also do this in the correct order (which isn't the one I gave you) often in the dark, under water, and holding their breath.
The success of doing this depends entirely on a thorough safety briefing that is not only given, but understood and retained. The difficulty of water egress is so acute that many float organizations put their pilots through the 'dunk tank', a device which simulates a water ditching in a safe (pool) environment.
The Cessna 206. In its typical form has two doors. One is at the left front of the cabin and opens like most light aircraft doors. Hinged at the front and latched at the rear. The other door is a cargo door which at the right rear of the cabin. This door is a double door, the forward one is hinged forward and latched to the rear door, the rear door is hinged aft and latched to the top and bottom of the door opening.
Like most double doors, you have to open the one that is latched to the other door first. However, on the Cessna 206, if the flaps are down, the front door will not open all the way. You can open the back door now, but its handle which is mounted on the front edge of the door will swing forward and impact the jammed forward door. To get it further open you either have to kick the door to break the handle, or retract the handle after the latches are clear. It still needs to be pushed past the forward door, against water pressure as well, to open. If the accident happens on landing, it's likely the flaps will be in the fully extended position.
It is for this reason that the Cessna 206 is only allowed to carry four passengers (five occupants in total) in Canada, whether as a land plane or sea plane. Some Cessna 206s are modified with a half sized front right hand door to give another exit point, but many aren't.
In a situation involving a crash landing on water, the pilot is right next to an exit and will easily egress. The front passenger can exit out of the optional right door if installed, or slide over the pilot's seat to the left door. The middle row passengers must climb over the front seat backs to reach the front door, or over the middle seat backs to reach the rear door. (Though the front half of the rear door is right next to the middle row passengers, it is jammed by the flap). The sole passenger in the rear seat must climb over two seat backs to get to the front door, or perform the complex procedure as described above to open the rear door. Based on personal experience, few people can open the rear door even on dry land after given a through safety briefing their first attempt.
Though I'm probably going to get flamed by the holier than thous on here, it speaks to a well known problem in the float industry, and a deadly feature of this specific aircraft.
After a crash and drowning deaths of passengers, the DHC-2 Beaver was required to be modified with passenger doors that were easier to open underwater. The doors on the Beaver are much simpler, much larger, are shaped so that they cannot impact the wing flaps in any position, and they are on each side of the aft cabin.
Again, I'm not saying that's what happened here, but it highlights a danger that is being ignored.