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Wasaya Airways aircraft grounded after door opens during April 24 takeoff

Friday May 2, 2014

A Wasaya Airways Beechcraft 1900 twin-engine turboprop was grounded for five days in Sachigo after a door opened during takeoff on April 24.

“About two minutes after takeoff they heard a whistling sound as it was leaving,” said Sachigo Chief Alvin Beardy, describing eyewitness accounts from community members on the ground. “They observed that something was wrong because it was making an unusual high-pitched sound. Even from the ground you could hear it.”

Beardy said the witnesses soon noticed that the pitch of the sound changed and the aircraft then returned to the airport.

“The way it descended was kind of in a manner that was pretty fast,” Beardy said. “According to the reports from the inside was that the passengers had indicated that the door had opened as they were flying.”

A Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson said the door warning light did not activate until the door had opened about six inches.

“Shortly after takeoff the crew heard a wind noise,” said Chris Krepski, a Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson. “There was no warning light at that point but then they went to check the main cabin door to see if it was latched, but it popped open about six inches and that is when the warning light in the cockpit illuminated.”

Krepski said the crew then briefed the nine passengers on board and turned the aircraft around to return to Sachigo.

“While the door was open, a restraining cable struck the left propellor as the aircraft slowed on approach,” Krepski said. “The door was open to the point where it was about 90 degrees to the fuselage. The aircraft door opened when the aircraft touched down and contacted the runway surface.”

Krepski said there were no injuries to the passengers or crew, but the aircraft sustained damages to the left propellor and main cabin door.

“The aircraft has been removed for service and inspection,” Krepski said.

A Wasaya Airways statement said the aircraft’s door lowered as the air speed lowered and fully opened upon landing, but did not hit the ground.

The passengers were brought into the airport terminal after the landing, and further accommodations or transportation were provided by the company.

Wasaya Airways is in contact with Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board of
Canada as an investigation into the cause of the door opening is underway.

Beardy said it was a close call for the passengers.

“I’m sure there was trauma involved,” Beardy said. “When the pressure hit, I heard that one of the young people had their ear (buds) in (and) those things popped out. That was how hard the
air pressure hit them.”


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