Blog #1092 – Hypoxia Involved in Crash

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Hypoxia, or in-flight oxygen deprivation, was a likely factor in a plane crash that killed a pilot and survey technician in Alberta last year, according to a recent investigation report from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The incident occurred on the early afternoon of August 1, 2018, when an Aries Aviation International Piper PA-31 aircraft was descending towards Calgary/Spring Bank Airport, Alberta following two hours of survey activities. According to the TSB report, which was published on August 1, 2018, the plane was 40 nautical miles southwest of the airport and 15,000 feet above sea (ASL) level when the right inch and suddenly begin operating at a substantially lower power setting than the left one was, for no apparent reason.

The aircraft departed controlled flight about 90 seconds later, at about 13,500 feet, report states. The plane collided with terrain near the peak of Mount Rae, fatally injuring both occupants.

After investigating the crash, the TSB found that the pilot had not been using oxygen continuously while the plane was more than 13,000 feet ASL, even though portable oxygen system had been active and available and using it was required by regulation. This may have resulted in hypoxia, which can affect pilot performance. Jan set up hypoxia is often slow and gradual, so the pilot may not have recognized the symptoms of it.

“If flight crews do not undergo practical hypoxia training,” the Transportation Safety Board report states, “there is a risk that they will not recognize the onset of hypoxia when flying above 13,000 feet without continuous use of supplemental oxygen.”

The TSB also notes that there was no flight-data recorder or cockpit voice recorder on the plane. These were not required by regulation. The aircraft was equipped with a flight-data monitoring system with a camera, which gave the investigators sample information to understand the underlying factors of the accident, the TSB adds.

“The weather information collected during the investigation identified that the loss of control is not due to in-flight icing, thunderstorms, or turbulence,” the TSB states in the report.

My opinion

I keep hearing reports from the province of Alberta where workers and employers continually bypass or totally ignore safety protocols on a regular basis. It is called the “Cowboy” mentality.

Please read my blog, post #41, “Enforcement Concerns Auditor”, and the reader can better review the ongoing problems with the workforce out in Alberta and the province of Alberta’s lack of safety control.

Now I realize that this is accident is a Federal matter BUT it seems that Alberta continues to disregard safety protocols and procedures in any jurisdiction.

Please read blog post #41 and you be the judge.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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