TSB Reports Concludes Last Years’ Plane Crash Was Caused by Whiteout

The investigators with The Transportation Safety Board of Canada have finally submitted their findings of the small plane crash in western Manitoba that cost the lives of a man and three boys last year, concluding the cause of incident to be whiteout conditions. The report claims that 37-year-old Darren Spence was flying Cessna 210 along with his sons, 9-year-old Logan, and 10-year-old Gage, and their friend 9-year-old Dawson Pentecost, that crashed in a field near Waskada, Man., on Feb. 10, 2013, when all four died in the crash.

The report into the tragedy was finalized on Monday. In their announcement, Transportation Safety Board officials revealed that the landscape of rolling, snow-covered hills and foggy weather resulted in a whiteout, which caused the pilot to become disoriented. It was explained that a whiteout is “a winter atmospheric optical phenomenon in which the observer appears to be engulfed in a uniformly white glow. Whiteout conditions may result in a poorly defined visual horizon that will reduce the pilot’s ability to visually detect changes in altitude, airspeed and position. If visual cues are sufficiently degraded, the pilot may lose control of the aircraft or fly into the ground.”

Furthermore, the agency explained that even though Spence was an experienced crop-dusting pilot, he was only qualified to fly with visual reference to the ground. It was elaborated that “the pilot’s lack of instrument training and experience would have made him more susceptible to the effects of whiteout and spatial disorientation.”

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