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Transport Canada responds to TSB criticism

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Transport Canada says implementing the Transportation Safety Board‘s recommendations to reduce fires after small plane crashes wouldn’t be simple, and wouldn’t be the most effective way to save lives.

The federal department is responding to criticism from the safety board, which has argued that two pilots killed in a crash near Vancouver two years ago could still be alive if Transport Canada heeded its recommendations.

At issue was a recommendation for technology that would automatically disconnect the battery upon impact, preventing arcing wires from igniting fuel — which is what happened in the Vancouver crash.

Transport Canada’s director general of civil aviation says the Canadian regulator works with its counterparts in the U-S and in Europe, and they’ve identified other safety areas as priorities.

Martin Eley says the current focus is on identifying the best ways to prevent crashes.

Eley says regulators need to focus their efforts on the things that would prevent the most number of fatalities.

But Lawyer J-J Camp, who is representing six of the seven surviving passengers from the Richmond crash, says Transport Canada should always be looking for any means available to save lives. “Those ways and means must be found practicable. What the TSB did in 2006 was make, what we and the aircraft industry believe, were reasonable, sensible recommendations.

The Transportation Safety Board issued a report in 2006 that called for a number of changes to reduce fires after a small aircraft crashes.