At approximately 6:15 p.m on Wednesday December 13th, 2017, Fond du Lac RCMP responded to reports of a downed aircraft near the Fond du Lac airport. A fixed-wing plane had crashed shortly after take-off from Fond du Lac. RCMP members located the aircraft less than a kilometer from the airstrip.
Transportation safety Board of Canada has taken over investigation of the incident and release an update the initial steps of their investigation;
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On 13 December 2017, a ATR42-320 operated by West Wind Aviation with 22 passengers and 3 crew on board collided with terrain shortly after take-off from the Fond-du-Lac Airport, Saskatchewan (ZFD) for a flight to Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan (YSF). The aircraft sustained substantial damage. A number of passengers and one crew member sustained serious injuries. The TSB deployed a team of investigators and technical experts fro the TSB Engineering Laboratory the same day.
As of Friday, December 15th, 2017, the TSB investigative team had initiated the investigation by conducting a survey of the accident site, taking photographs of the wreckage and recovering and securing the Flight Data Recorder, Cockpit Voice Recorder, and Emergency Locator Transmitter.
According to TSB investigators, the aircraft descended into the trees and terrain along wreckage path at least 800 feet long. While the aircraft was in an upright position it landed steeply tilted to the right. The left side of the aircraft appeared to have the worst damage and the fuselage was ruptured at about seating row number 3.
The TSB has noted that West Wind Aviation has grounded their other ATR aircraft for the time being.
Joining the TSB in the investigation are several independent investigators, including, Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA) (French investigative body), ATR (aircraft manufacturer), Pratt & Whitney Canada (engine manufacturer), and Transport Canada (Minister’s Observer). The TSB also recognized the contributions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the local Rangers who protected the site.
Over the next days and week, the TSB team will continue the site survey and examine components such as instrumentation and any device that contains non-volatile memory. They will also be gathering additional information about weather conditions, radar information, aircraft maintenance records and pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records. The investigators will interview witnesses, the aircraft operator and others as well as review operational policies and procedures and examine regulatory requirements.
“Investigations are complex and we take the time needed to complete a thorough investigation. However, should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, the Board will communicate them without delay. Further, it is important not to draw conclusions or speculate as to causes at this time. There are often many factors that can contribute to an accident.” Transportation Safety Board statement
See also: Plane Crashes Just After Takeoff from Fond du Lac Airport