The wreckage of the Carson Air Swearingen Merlin III plane reconstructed at the TSB laboratory.—Image: TSB

TSB to release findings on B.C. plane crash that left two people dead

The Kelowna-based Carson Air plane crashed into Vancouver’s North Shore mountains in 2015

Transportation Safety Board of Canada officials will hold a news conference Thursday in Vancouver to report the findings into a 2015 plane crash involving an aircraft belonging to Kelowna-based airline Carson Air.

The plane, a Swearingen Metro II cargo aircraft, crashed into the mountains on Vancouver’s North Shore April 13, 2015, shortly after taking off from Vancouver International Airport.

In it’s announcement of the news conference, the safety board describes the crash, which claimed the lives of the pilot and co-pilot, as an “in-flight breakup.”

Following the crash, search and rescue crews located the bodies of the two men on board after an extensive search in an area known as Crown Mountain.

Vancouver Air traffic control lost contact with the twin-prop plane shortly after it took off and the wreckage was found the next day. At the time, flying conditions were described as “challenging.” The flight was headed to Prince George.

A toxicology test by the BC Coroner’s Service found the plane’s captain, 34-year-old Robert Brandt, had a substantial level of alcohol in his system at the time of the crash. His co-pilot, 32-year-old Kevin Wang did not have any alcohol or drugs in his system.

Carson Air employs about 50 people in Kelowna, where the head offices of the company are located. It also has bases in Vancouver, Calgary and Abbotsford and employs more than 100 people throughout those offices. The company does air cargo flights as well as air ambulance, and operates a flight training school.

“Everybody is really shaken up by this tragedy,” said Carson Air vice-president Kevin Hillier from his office in Kelowna following the discovery of the wreckage in 2015. “Everyone is very upset.”

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