EDMONTON - An investigation into a plane crash that killed three people, including former owner of Calgary Hitmen junior hockey team, says a parachute system designed to work in emergencies wasn't deployed.
Charles Matson, 51, Steve Brosseau, 43, of Spruce Grove, Alta., and James DuBarry, 42, of Edmonton, were killed when the Cirrus SR-22 plane crashed in a field near Sundre, and burst into flames on Sept. 24, 2010.
The Transportation Safety Board says it couldn't determine why the single-engine plane decelerated to the point of a stall, then went into a spin and spiralled to the ground.
It also found evidence that suggests the handle used to activate the parachute system was not pulled, even though it had adequate height to deploy when it entered the spin.
Matson owned the plane and Brosseau and DuBarry, who were also pilots, had just bought the plane the morning of the crash.
The board also couldn't determine who had control of the plane when it went down.
"Since the purpose of the flight was likely to familiarize the new owners with their aircraft, it is reasonable to assume that the right seat occupant was allowed to manipulate the flight controls," the report says.
"The passengers ...were relatively unfamiliar with the aircraft control and display systems, and had little or no experience in flying from the right seat. Since the style and placement of the side-stick flight control and flight instruments were different from what either of the prospective owners were accustomed to, maintaining precise control of the aircraft from the right seat would have presented a challenge."
The board also said some maintenance records were not up to date for the plane. It says the plane got a pre-purchase inspection in Edmonton two days before the crash and found a 24-month altimeter inspection required by Canadian Aviation regulations had not been completed.
As well, the report said, service of a filter associated with an anti-ice system and replacement of the auxiliary aircraft battery was overdue.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the plane got a pre-purchase inspection five days before the crash.