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Weather a factor in fatal 2021 crash of plane towing marriage banner in Montreal: TSB

MONTREAL – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says weather and engine trouble contributed to the fatal crash of a small plane near Old Montreal in 2021 that was towing a marriage proposal banner.

The lone passenger died and the pilot was badly hurt when a Cessna 172M pulling a banner reading “will you marry me” crashed near the Concorde Bridge of Montreal’s Île Ste-Hélène on Oct. 2, 2021.

The TSB report released today says it appears the plane lost engine power somewhere over the St. Lawrence River and was forced to attempt an emergency landing.

It says the plane’s wing hit some trees, sending the aircraft into a cartwheel before it crashed and burst into flames.

The investigation found that rainy and overcast weather conditions contributed to ice building up in the plane’s carburetor, forcing the pilot to fly at a lower altitude than originally planned.

The report says the pilot decided to take off despite knowing about the poor conditions, likely due to what the TSB calls “an unconscious cognitive bias” and pressure to complete the job on time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023.


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