Small plane in fatal Labrador crash was overweight, but investigation inconclusive

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Investigators have been unable to establish what caused the fatal crash of a small plane near a Labrador airport last year because data from the aircraft's final minute in the air was destroyed on impact.

A report released today by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane was preparing to make a stop at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay airport on Dec. 14, on its way to its home airport in Europe.

The plane had been cleared to land but lost control on descent, crashing about 4.6 kilometres from the airport along a road extending from the runway.

The plane's two occupants were transported to hospital with serious injuries, and the pilot — a 52-year-old man from Switzerland — died later that day.

The report says the plane's speed decreased significantly at two points during its descent, and that it was travelling at about 95 kilometres per hour when the pilot lost control.

Investigators determined the plane was about 216 kilograms overweight when it took off in Sept-Îles, Que., and about 22 kilograms overweight when it hit the ground, but it's not clear if the excess weight had anything to do with the crash.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press