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Air transportation safety investigation A19P0187

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 30 June 2020.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Cessna 172H, C-GECG
Tofino/Long Beach Airport, British Columbia, 31 NM NW

View final report

The occurrence

On 21 December 2019, a privately-operated Cessna 172H was conducting a flight northwest of Tofino, British Columbia. The aircraft was declared missing after failing to return to the Courtenay Airpark as expected. The destroyed aircraft was found on 22 December 2019 in a remote location near Sydney Inlet Provincial Park, British Columbia, approximately 24 nautical miles northwest of Tofino, British Columbia. The pilot was the lone person on board and was fatally injured.

Media materials

News release


Investigation report: December 2019 collision with terrain of a Cessna 172H near Stewardson Inlet, British Columbia
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Kent Wickens

Kent Wickens is a Regional Senior Investigator in the Air Investigations Branch, at the Pacific Regional Office in Richmond, British Columbia. Mr. Wickens has over 20 years of experience working as a pilot in the aviation industry. He began his aviation career as a flight instructor and moved to Northern Alberta to fly passenger and freight charters, before gaining a position with an airline. He flew there for 17 years with some time as a First Officer on the Boeing 727 and the majority of his career as a Captain on the Convair 580. Prior to joining the Transportation Safety Board in 2019, Mr. Wickens worked for 5 years as an investigator and a manager with Transport Canada’s Enforcement Branch.

Mr. Wickens holds an Airline Transport Licence – Aeroplane and has more than 8500 hours of flying experience.

Class of investigation

This is a class 4 investigation. These investigations are limited in scope, and while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 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.