Stock photo of a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter float plane from the Blue Water Aviation website. (Source: Blue Water Aviation)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has revealed that a fatigue fracture in the right-hand wing lift strut assemble caused a fatal plane near Little Grand Rapids in 2019.

The crash took place on Oct. 26, 2019, when a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter float plane, operated by Blue Water Aviation, left the Bissett Water Aerodrome on a flight to Little Grand Rapids. On board the aircraft were the pilot, two passengers and about 800 pounds of freight.

According to a report from the TSB, the plane was about to land on Family Lake, when its right-hand wing separated from the fuselage. The plane then went into a nose-down attitude and hit the water.

All three people on the plane were killed in the crash, and the plane was destroyed. CTV News Winnipeg previously reported the identity of the pilot as Jonathan Friesen, 39. The two passengers were a 42-year-old man and a 49-year-old man.

The TSB’s investigation found that the fatigue fracture led to an “overstress failure of the other fitting during the left turn prior to the final approach, followed by the separation of the right wing strut from the wing.” 

A visual inspection of the plane did not find any cracks that could form in the wing lift strut attachment fittings.

Following the crash, an alert was issued for operators to conduct more detailed testing on DHC-3 wing lift strut attachment fittings and lug plates.