Authorities to release investigation report on 2015 Halifax crash landing
Transportation Safety Board investigators and airport firefighters work at the crash site of Air Canada AC624 that crashed early Sunday morning during a snowstorm, at Stanfield International Airport in Halifax on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Michael MacDonald, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:58AM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 17, 2017 7:39AM ADT
HALIFAX -- Two years after an Air Canada jet crash-landed in a blizzard at Halifax's airport, injuring 25 people, the results of a Transportation Safety Board investigation will be released Thursday.
Flight 624 landed about 200 metres short of runway 05 at Halifax Stanfield International Airport shortly after midnight on March 29, 2015, as it approached in gusty winds and heavy snowfall.
The twin-engine Airbus 320-200 bounced into the air and crashed near the runway threshold before careening along the tarmac for another 570 metres. An engine and the plane's landing gear were ripped from the airframe amid a shower of sparks and leaking fuel.
The TSB said in a news release Tuesday that the report on what it terms a "collision with terrain" will be released at a news conference at a Halifax hotel.
Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner, who has launched a class action suit, said the report should offer insight into the dynamics between Nav Canada, the airport authority and what was taking place in the cockpit as the pilots planned their descent through harsh weather.
"All of that will be helpful in terms of sorting our the varying responsibilities for what happened," Wagner said in an interview.
"Any information that we can garner ... will be extremely helpful in terms of formulating the questions that we'll be asking the relevant parties."
In particular, Wagner said he is keen to learn how the pilots calculated their approach and what information they received about the prevailing weather conditions.
However, he said it's important to note that the board's findings will not assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
Late last year, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice certified Wagner's class action lawsuit that names Transport Canada, Air Canada, the Halifax International Airport Authority, Nav Canada and Airbus SAS, the French company that built the jet.
In a statement of claim filed with the class action, three passengers have come forward to represent the plaintiffs.
Kathleen Carroll-Byrne of Halifax said she continues to suffer from anxiety, a loss of concentration and a fear of flying. Halifax resident Asher Hodara said he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and dental damage. Malanga Georges Libboy of Church Point, N.S., said the crash has left him with profound psychological stress and pain in his knee, neck and mouth.
None of the allegations in the class action has been proven in court.
Wagner said all documents relevant to the case must be disclosed by end of July, and the discovery process should be concluded by Nov. 10.
"It will be a pretty intensive period of discovery examinations that will take place in the latter part of summer and into fall," he said.
There were 133 passengers and five crew aboard the flight from Toronto.
Virtually all of the passengers had to spend about 50 minutes on the tarmac, huddled against the blowing snow, before they were taken to an unheated hangar.
In June 2015, the independent safety agency issued a preliminary report, saying the jet had no major mechanical problems.
The board said it was correctly configured for landing, its air speed was consistent with a normal approach and there were no mechanical deficiencies with its engines, flight controls, landing gear and navigation systems.
In March of this year, Air Canada filed a lawsuit against Airbus, claiming in Nova Scotia Supreme Court the manufacturer was negligent by failing to identify shortcomings of the aircraft related to how its flight path angle is affected by external forces. None of those allegations have been proven in court.