Stewardson Inlet is just north of Hot Springs Cove, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Stewardson Inlet is just north of Hot Springs Cove, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

TSB will deploy team to plane crash site north of Tofino

Agency should know more about investigation into death of Comox pilot in new year

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) will have a team at the site of a recent fatal crash involving a Comox pilot, even with the plane wreckage taken from the scene.

Hal (Heinz) Schulz was flying on Dec. 21 but did not return to the Courtenay Airpark as expected. A search led to the discovery of the plane the next morning at a remote site on the west coast of Vancouver Island, north of Tofino.

A TSB spokesperson clarified that removing the wreckage is the responsibility of insurers, not the TSB, as had been reported earlier.

“The Transportation Safety Board is not responsible for recovering aircraft,” said spokesperson Alex Fournier. “The insurance companies usually take care of that…. They take care of hiring the people.”

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However, the federal agency spokesperson told the Comox Valley Record on Dec. 30 it expects to send a team to the site to gather information. As to when, the TSB was not sure because this will depend on weather, scheduling and when they can fly in by helicopter.

“Every accident, every investigation is different,” said Fournier. “When there’s an accident, there’s a few decisions that need to be taken…. In this case, because of the remote location, the TSB has not deployed yet…. We will be going to the site as soon as we are able.”

He expects the deployment, followed by a decision on the start of the official TSB investigation, could come in early January.

“That decision … because of the holiday, it will likely be made in the next couple of weeks,” Fournier said.

After the team returns from the field, the TSB determines how to classify the incident for the investigation. There are five main classes, which take into account factors such as injuries or deaths, the release of dangerous goods, damage to property or the environment, the need to identify safety lessons or reduce risk and occurrences with common characteristics over time. There is also a sixth level, though this is typically for international cases in which the TSB might assist but not lead an investigation.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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