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Air transportation safety investigation A19C0138

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 6 January 2021.

Table of contents

In flight breakup

Blue Water Aviation
de Havilland DHC-3, C-GBTU
Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba

View final report

The occurrence

At approximately 0745 Central Daylight Time on 26 October 2019, the Blue Water Aviation float-equipped de Havilland DHC-3 Otter aircraft (registration C-GBTU, serial number 209) departed Bissett Water Aerodrome, Manitoba, with the pilot, 2 passengers, and approximately 800 pounds of freight on board. The destination was Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba, on the eastern shore of Family Lake. At approximately 0845, while on approach to Family Lake, the aircraft’s right wing separated from the fuselage. The aircraft then entered a nose-down attitude and struck the water surface of the lake. The pilot and the 2 passengers were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces. The emergency locator transmitter activated momentarily.

Safety communications

Safety advisories


A19C0138-D1–A1: Viking Air Ltd. de Havilland DHC-3 wing strut attachment inspections

Media materials

News release


Fatigue fracture in wing lift strut assembly led to fatal 2019 in-flight breakup of a floatplane in Manitoba
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB deploys an investigator to Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba, following an aircraft accident

Winnipeg, Manitoba, 28 October 2019 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying an investigator to Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba, following Saturday’s accident involving a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Ross Peden

Ross Peden has 35 years of civil aviation experience. He joined the TSB in September 2001 as a Flight Operations investigator in the TSB central region office in Winnipeg Manitoba. Prior to joining the TSB, he worked as an airline pilot for different Canadian and foreign carriers, which included a 4 year stint in Sudan Africa and 3 years in Paris France. During that time, he flew different aircraft types, starting on small bush aircraft and eventually finishing commercial career on large jet aircraft. In 1996 he joined Transport Canada, as an Instrument procedures specialist, followed by a period with what was then called system safety.

Since joining the TSB, Mr. Peden has participated in several TSB investigations, including the 2005 Air France accident at Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its 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.