Air transportation safety investigation A19O0178

Updated in November 2020 : This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Collision with terrain

Piper PA-32
Kingston, Ontario

The occurrence

On , a Piper PA-32 registered in the United States was conducting a visual flight rules flight from Toronto/Buttonville Municipal Airport (CYKZ), in Toronto, Ontario. Preliminary information indicates that the destination was Québec City, Quebec. It appears that the aircraft intended to land in Kingston, Ontario as there were communications between the pilot and Kingston Flight Service Station just prior to the accident. Shortly after 5:00 pm EST the aircraft collided with terrain approximately 2.8 NM north of Kingston and came to rest in a northerly direction, aligned with the north-south runway of the Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport (CYGK). The aircraft was destroyed. Examination of the wreckage indicates that the angle of impact with terrain was very steep. There was no post-impact fire. All 7 people aboard were fatally injured. The emergency locator transmitter activated.

Progress to date

An investigation team was deployed to the accident site. Investigators have been:

  • collecting data;
  • examining, taking photographs, and surveying the accident site and wreckage;
  • surveying the cockpit and obtaining technical, operational and maintenance documents;
  • recovering electronic instruments and devices that contain non-volatile memory;
  • examining the aircraft engine;
  • conducting an examination of the cabin and seating arrangements;
  • conducting interviews with first responders, airport employees, and any other witnesses in addition to obtaining copies of statements.

Working with others

The TSB conducts independent investigations. For their assistance in this investigation, we would like to recognize the contributions of first responders and of the Kingston Police who protected the site. The aircraft was found by a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-146 Griffon helicopter crew from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton. The Search and Rescue helicopter used data provided by the on-board 406-MHz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) to find the aircraft.

Next steps

There were reports of deteriorating weather at the time of the occurrence. We will obtain a detailed weather information package for further information.

Prior to the occurrence, there were communications between the pilot and Kingston Flight Service Station. The investigation will seek to obtain further details on communications between the pilot, the flight service station and other air traffic services.

Among other activities in the coming days and weeks, the team will:

  • examine data from electronic devices that may be found in the aircraft to help determine the sequence of events prior to the accident;
  • gather and analyze weather information to understand to what extent weather was a factor;
  • examine aircraft maintenance records, pilot training, qualifications and proficiency records;
  • conduct follow-up interviews;
  • review operational policies, procedures and regulatory requirements;
  • examine previous occurrences involving this type of aircraft and subsequent safety action taken in Canada, the United States and other jurisdictions.

Communication of safety deficiencies

Investigations are complex and we take the time needed to complete a thorough investigation. However, should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, the Board will communicate them without delay.

Further, it is important not to speculate, or draw conclusions as to causes at this time. There are often many factors that can contribute to an accident.

Media materials

Deployment notice


TSB will deploy a team to Kingston, Ontario, following an aircraft accident

Richmond Hiill, Ontario, 27 November 2019 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will deploy a team of investigators tomorrow morning to Kingston, Ontario, following an accident involving a Piper PA-32. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Ken Webster

Ken Webster joined the TSB team in 2005, and works as a Regional Senior Investigator (Air) out of the Ontario office. Mr. Webster has been investigator-in-charge in numerous TSB investigations, and assisted in several others, involving airplane, helicopter and air traffic control.

Prior to the TSB he worked in civil aviation for 20 years, in several different capacities. As a pilot, Mr. Webster has flown numerous aircraft types throughout Canada and the US.


  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.

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