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News release

TSB releases preliminary 2017 transportation occurrence statistics

Gatineau, Quebec, 20 February 2018 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released today its preliminary transportation occurrence statistics for 2017. The TSB, Transport Canada, the transportation industry, as well as many other organizations and researchers, use these statistics on reportable occurrences in the air, marine, railway and pipeline modes of transportation for the identification and analysis of trends. An initial review of the preliminary occurrence information highlights some noteworthy observations. In early spring, the TSB will release its complete and final statistical reports for 2017, including accident rates and a more thorough analysis of the data.

Air transportation

In 2017, 239 aviation accidents were reported to the TSB, which is slightly lower than the 5‑year average of 259. After a five-year decline, the number of accidents among commercial operators increased in 2017. This increase is partly due to a higher number of flight training accidents. The December 2017 accident in Fond-du-Lac, Saskatchewan, was the first fatal accident in Canada involving a Canadian airliner since the accident in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, in 2011.

There were 921 aviation incidents reported to the TSB in 2017, which represents a significant increase compared to the previous year (833) and the 5-year average (737). This trend is partly due to an increase in the risk of collision and loss of separation incidents. The first known collision between a commercial aircraft and an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone), in Canada, also occurred in 2017.

Marine transportation

There were 276 marine accidents reported to the TSB in 2017, down 10% compared to 2016, but close to the 5-year average of 284. There were 10 fatal accidents, which resulted in 11 fatalities. Three of those fatalities occurred in the fishing industry. Although this number has decreased in the last two years, so have the number of registered fishing vessels and the number of fishermen.

Some 875 marine incidents were reported to the TSB in 2017, which is a 36% increase compared to the 5-year average of 645. The increase consists mainly of incidents where vessels made bottom contact, and incidents of total failure of machinery or technical system.

Railway transportation

In 2017, 1,090 railway accidents were reported to the TSB, a 21% increase over 2016 but close to the 5-year average of 1,028. There were 77 rail-related fatalities – 11 more than the previous year but close to the 5-year average of 75. Among these, 53 involved trespassers, compared to 47 in 2016 and to the 5-year average of 39.

Among all TSB-reported railway accidents, 115 involved dangerous goods, up from 100 in 2016 but a 9% decrease compared to the 5-year average of 127. Five of those accidents in 2017 resulted in a dangerous goods release.

There were 274 railway incidents reported to the TSB in 2017, a 16% decrease from 2016 and a 13% decrease from the 5-year average. About half of these (122) were movement exceeds limits of authority incidents – 11 fewer than in 2016 but close to the 5-year average of 124.

Pipeline transportation

The number of pipeline occurrences reported to the TSB involving a release of product in 2017 was up following five consecutive years of decrease. Only one of the 72 occurrences in 2017 involved a release from the pipeline body. There was one serious injury related to a federally-regulated pipeline occurrence in 2017, the first since 2012. There was also a larger than usual number of incidents involving soil erosion. This is likely due, in part, to the unusually wet weather in 2017.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-360-4376