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Air transportation safety investigation A15W0069

Update: The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 11 August 2016.

Table of contents

Loss of control and collision with terrain

Conair Group Inc., dba Conair
Air Tractor AT-802A Fire Boss Amphibian, C-FDHV
Cold Lake, Alberta, 25 nm NW

View final report

The occurrence

The Conair amphibious float-equipped Air Tractor AT-802A Fire Boss, C-FDHV, serial number 802A-0348, was operating as Tanker 692 in support of wildfire management operations 25 nautical miles northwest of Cold Lake, Alberta. Tanker 692 was the last in a formation of 4 AT-802A Fire Boss aircraft followed by 2 CL-215T aircraft being operated by Conair Group Inc. Tanker 692 had completed 2 drops on the fire, from west to east, with a turnout to the north. When exiting its third drop, Tanker 692 encountered severe turbulence and then pitched to a nose-up attitude. The aircraft climbed to approximately 400–500 feet above ground level, where it rolled to the left and entered a nose-down attitude. It struck the ground right-wing low and close to nose-level at 1630 Mountain Daylight Time. The pilot was fatally injured as a result of non-survivable impact forces. There was no post-impact fire.

Media materials

News release


Fire whirl led to loss of control and impact with the ground in fatal May 2015 accident near Cold Lake, Alberta
Read the news release

Deployment notice


TSB will deploy a team of investigators to an aircraft accident near Cold Lake, Alberta

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will deploy a team of investigators tomorrow morning to the site of an aircraft accident near Cold Lake, Alberta. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Fred Burow

Fred Burow is a senior operations investigator with the TSB Western Regional Office in Edmonton. Mr. Burow has been with the TSB since January of 2013. Before joining the TSB, Mr. Burow worked at Transport Canada where he gained experience as an inspector for aerodrome safety, air carrier inspections and as a flight operations manager and training pilot for Transport Canada’s Aircraft Services Directorate. Besides extensive fixed-wing aircraft experience, Mr. Burow gained valuable rotary-wing experience with the Canadian Armed Forces 10 Tactical Air Group as a crew commander, flight safety officer, squadron standards officer and as a manager of flight operations at the Canadian Forces Flight Training School.


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

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.