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Air transportation safety investigation A19P0059

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 8 June 2020.

Table of contents

Engine power loss, forced landing into trees

Lakes District Air Service Ltd.
Cessna 182E, C-FLVN
Smithers, British Columbia, 50 NM N

View final report

The occurrence

On , the Lakes District Air Service Ltd. Cessna 182E (registration C-FLVN, serial number 18253755) was conducting a fire surveillance flight under daytime visual flight rules. The flight was being conducted on behalf of the BC Wildfire Service in the vicinity of Smithers, British Columbia, with the pilot and 3 crew members on board. Approximately 3 hours into the flight, the pilot transmitted a Mayday before communication was lost. The 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter activated on impact and its signal was received by the Canadian Mission Control Centre. A helicopter search was conducted and the aircraft wreckage was located in a forested area approximately 50 nautical miles north of Smithers, 500 feet north of the Babine River, 5.6 nautical miles east of the Silver Hilton Steelhead Lodge airstrip. The aircraft had collided with trees and terrain. One crew member survived the crash and was transported to hospital by helicopter. The pilot and the other 2 crew members were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed; there was no post-impact fire.

Media materials

News release


Carburetor ice and subsequent engine power loss led to fatal accident near Smithers, BC
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB deploys a team of investigators to the site of a small aircraft accident north of Smithers, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 5 May 2019 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to the site of a small aircraft accident involving a Cessna 182 north of Smithers, British Columbia. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Scott Ludlow

Scott Ludlow joined the TSB’s Air Investigations Branch in 2019 after having spent 15 years in private sector aviation. He has flying and training experience in commercial operations under subparts 702, 703, 704 & 705 of the CARs, and as a flight instructor. The majority of his experience was acquired in Newfoundland-and-Labrador and the Maritime provinces. He has also worked in Montreal, Qc, and Comox, BC, flying King Airs, Citations, and Dash-8. Mr. Ludlows holds a Bachelor’s degree in science (physics) and is completing his Master’s degree in Aeronautical Science (human factors and safety management).


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

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.