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Plane had wrong fuel

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THOMPSON, Man.—The Transportation Safety Board says a plane that crashed in northern Manitoba last month, sending eight people to hospital, had the wrong fuel.

The Navajo Chieftain aircraft operated by Keystone Air had a malfunction shortly after take-off on Sept. 15 and tried to return to the airport in Thompson, the board said yesterday.

The plane—with two pilots and six passengers aboard—crashed into some trees 1.8 km short of a runway.

Much of the aircraft was destroyed but the cabin section remained largely intact.

There was no fire even though the aircraft’s fuel cells were ruptured and spilled gas around the crash site.

The transportation board said the twin-engine piston aircraft mistakenly was refilled with jet-engine turbine fuel in Thompson instead of the required aviation gas.

“If you put the wrong fuel in an aircraft engine—obviously in this case the engine won’t run,” board spokesman Chris Krepski said.

“The incorrect fuel would obviously affect the ability of the engine to operate.”

The day after the crash, Keystone Air president Cliff Arlt said the company had learned the aircraft may have been filled with jet fuel rather than Avgas, as would have been required for the Navajo.

Arlt was not immediately available for comment yesterday.

The safety board said its investigation continues, and includes a review of aircraft fuelling procedures used by the airline and the airport.

Krepski said there are safeguards that are supposed to prevent refuelling staff from putting the wrong type of gas into a plane.

“That is part of what the investigation will look at—what the procedures are for fuelling aircraft, whether they are sufficient,” he noted.

This is the second crash involving a Keystone Air plane in recent years.

Four people, including the pilot, were killed and a fifth seriously injured when a Keystone plane hit the icy surface of a lake at a remote reserve north of Dryden, Ont. in 2012.

The TSB later found that poor weather, ice on the wings, and the pilot’s inexperience landing in icy conditions contributed to that crash.

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