Ottawa proposes that commercial floatplane passengers and crew wear life vests

May 24, 2016


Story via The Vancouver Sun by Larry Pynn/ Photo Courtesy of Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press

The federal government is recommending regulations that would require all passengers and crew on commercial floatplanes to wear inflatable life vests during flights over water.

Transport Canada’s planned amendments to Canadian aviation regulations would also require mandatory training for pilots of fixed-wing commercial seaplanes on how to get out of the plane under water in the event of a crash.

The proposed regulatory changes were published last week in the Canada Gazette. Canadians have 30 days to comment before the changes are finalized.

In 2009, a Seair Seaplanes de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver crashed at Lyall Harbour off Saturna Island. Six occupants, including a doctor and her infant drowned inside the aircraft. The pilot and one other passenger escaped with serious injuries, but were without life vests and at risk of drowning.

In 2005, an MJM Air Beaver crashed near Quadra Island. Five men escaped the aircraft but are thought to have drowned. Life vests were still in their pouches above the door.

In 2011, the federal transportation safety board released its report into the Seair accident recommending the federal government require that all new and existing commercial floatplanes be fitted with regular and emergency exits that allow rapid egress and that occupants of commercial seaplanes wear a device that provides personal flotation after an emergency escape.

Bill Yearwood, regional manager of the safety board, said Monday that the federal decision is “good news” for aviation.

“Finally, after several years and some operators leading the way, passengers will have better chances of survival after exiting a sinking float-plane. While these accidents don’t happen often, when they do, people drown.”

Full Story here


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