Accident description
Last updated: 25 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 16 June 1996
Type:de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
Operator:Wildcountry Airways
Registration: C-FMEL
C/n / msn: 222
First flight: 1957
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney R-1340
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:9 km (5.6 mls) E of Cochenour, ON (   Canada)
Phase: Unknown (UNK)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Cochenour, ON, Canada
Destination airport:Sandy Beach Lodge, ON, Canada
Narrative:
The pilot had levelled the aircraft and configured it for cruise flight at approximately 2,500 feet above sea level when the pilot heard a popping sound and noted a slight loss of engine power, and wisps of whitish-grey smoke entered the cabin. The aircraft instruments indicated normal engine operation, and the fire warning system did not activate. The pilot suspected that the engine had suffered a cylinder failure and turned to return to Cochenour. A passenger seated in the right front crew
seat reported flames near the floor at the front, right corner of the cockpit. The pilot radioed the Thunder Bay Flight Service Station to advise of
the emergency, had the passenger vacate the crew seat, and attempted to suppress the fire with a hand-held extinguisher. Thick, black smoke billowed
into the cabin, restricting visibility and causing respiratory distress for all of the occupants. The pilot opened the left crew door in order to see
ahead and landed the aircraft, still on fire, on McNeely Bay, the first available landing site. The aircraft landed hard but remained upright on the
floats. The occupants left by the main door, with their life jackets, and were picked up almost immediately by nearby boats. The aircraft was consumed
by fire within minutes after landing.


CAUSES AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: "Continued operation of the engine following an exhaust valve failure on the No. 2 cylinder resulted in a flaming gas path near the right side of the firewall, an exhaust system overheat, and a subsequent cabin fire."

Sources:

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Transportation Safety Board (TSB) - Canada
report status: Final
report number: TSB Report A96C0091
report released:29-JUL-1997
duration of investigation:408 days (1 year 1.4 months)
download report: In-flight Fire, Wildcountry Airways Ltd., De Havilland DHC-3 Otter C-FMEL, Cochenour, Ontario 5 nm E (TSB Report A96C0091)

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