An aircraft believed to have crashed into the Fraser River where it runs past Maple Ridge and Langley on June 6 was carrying an instructor and a student pilot from a South Delta school when it disappeared from radar, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) confirmed Wednesday, July 8.
The incident was described as a “collision with terrain.”
Names of the instructor and student were not released.
According to an online description, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seat, single-engine, high-wing aircraft.
When the Langley Advance Times contacted International Flight Centre school, the person who answered the phone said “no comment” and hung up.
According to the school website, among its courses, International Flight Centre offers beginner-level introductory flights where novices spend about an hour and half on the ground learning how to control the airplane and carry out a preflight inspection before they take to the air.
“Even though this would be your first flight, you will do all taxiing (moving the plane on the ground) and you will do most of the flying when in the air,” the website stated.
According to the TSB, the Cessna was travelling eastbound at an altitude of 200 feet with an airspeed of 80 knots (about 90 miles an hour or 150 km/h) around 1:12 p.m. when it disappeared from radar over the Fraser River near Maple Ridge.
TSB categorized their probe as a “class 4” investigation, meaning it is limited in scope, and “while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations.”
Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 days.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences whose “sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability. “
“The aircraft remains missing and the fate of the crew is unknown,” the statement added.
Attempts to locate the plane using its emergency locator transmitter have been unsuccessful so far.
Effort to locate the missing plane have been hampered by a surge in river levels along with a fast-moving current.