No injuries in Ahousaht ‘fender bender’ float plane accident

Denise Titian, June 7, 2019

While landing at Ahousat during gusty wind conditions, a float plane was unable to stop before running into shoreline rocks, according to the Transportation Safety Board. (Genny John photo)

Ahousaht, BC — 

There were no injuries in a float plane accident that occurred in Ahousaht’s busy harbour on the afternoon of Monday, June 3, according to the Transportation Safety Board.

A Cessna A185F, owned by Atleo River Air, was flying from Tofino to Ahousaht carrying two Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council employees when it hit a gust of wind on landing in Ahousaht harbour at 3 p.m.

Atleo River Air owner Jason Bertin called the incident a fender bender, comparing it to a car goes into the ditch. He said his pilot’s landing was extended due to the wind gust, forcing her to put the plane on a beach.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in their report of the incident, “during the landing at Ahousat in gusty wind conditions, the pilot landed long, and the aircraft was unable to stop before running into shoreline rocks.”

The report went on to say that there were no injuries but the aircraft received substantial damage limited to its floats.

“There was a barge coming in and other boats moving around so she landed the plane on the shoreline,” said Bertin, adding that everyone walked off and went to their meeting.

Elected Chief Greg Louie said Ahousaht residents responded with speed and care to ensure all were safe.

The collision into the beach damaged the plane’s pontoons. The incident occurred at high tide, so the plane could not be removed until the next high tide, at 1 a.m.

A barge was brought in to retrieve the crippled plane. It is now in the shop for repairs. Bertin said that one of the pontoons may have to be sent to the manufacturer for repairs. He expects the plane to be ready for service in about a week.

Chief Louie reported that the plane started leaking fuel later that day.

“Our response team did contain the fuel and area,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

Concerned about negative publicity, Bertin stressed that the incident was minor and that his company has enjoyed a good working relationship with Ahousaht and surrounding communities.

“We’re just happy for the opportunity to get the facts out and put the panic out of everyone’s minds,” said Bertin.