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Clearer harbour rules encouraged after 2021 crash between floatplane and boat in Tofino: TSB


The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says designated landing zones should be available for aircraft in harbours following a crash between a floatplane and a water taxi in Tofino in 2021.

The crash occurred on Oct. 18, 2021, when a Tofino Air Havilland DHC-2 MK. I (Beaver) aircraft and a water taxi, called the Rocky Pass, collided near the First Street dock in Tofino.

Six people, including the pilot, where onboard the plane when it crashed.

Three passengers on the plane received minor injuries in the crash, while one passenger on the water taxi also received minor injuries.

Just two minutes and 30 seconds after the crash occurred, the Beaver had fully flipped upside and was floating on the surface of the water.

Nearby water taxi pilot Kenney Brown was one of the first people on scene to help rescue passengers after the crash.

He went full throttle and pulled alongside the half-submerged plane.

"I pulled the child in first, then the father and then the two ladies," Brown told CTV News in the days that followed the crash.

It wasn't the first time the water taxi operator had rescued people from the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean.

In 2015, he helped save more than a dozen people from a sinking whale watching boat off Tofino.

At the time, the Leviathan II was hit with a rogue wave while on a tour near Vargas Island. The incident left six people dead and was one of the worst modern nautical disasters on Canada’s West Coast.

The Transportation Safety Board says the October 2021 collision between the floatplane and the water taxi was caused because neither the pilot nor the captain realized their routes would run into each other.

"As a result, the aircraft and vessel collided, causing significant damage to the aircraft that required the occupants to conduct an emergency egress," the TSB said in its report released Thursday.

(Transportation Safety Board)The TSB notes that after the crash occurred, it also alerted Transport Canada to the fact that there were no speed limits in place for vessels in the Tofino harbour at the time.

It added that local authorities in Tofino did not realize speed limits were required under the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulations.

The TSB noted in its report that it is best practice to have designated landing areas for aircraft if a harbour allows both boats and aircraft to operate out of it.

With files from CTV News Vancouver Island's Scott Cunningham Top Stories

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