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Crash report calls for child restraints
Transportation Safety Board calls for change in wake of 2012 Sanikiluaq accident that killed infant

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Saturday, July 4, 2015

Flying should be as safe for children as it is for adults, the Transportation Safety Board said June 29, recommending age- and size-appropriate restraint systems on commercial flights in the wake of the 2012 Perimeter Aviation crash at Sanikiluaq that killed a six-month-old infant.

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All of the adults aboard Perimeter Aviation Flight 993 survived a December 22, 2012 crash, but they were all wearing seatbelts. The crash killed six-month-old Isaac Appaqaq, who was held in his mother's lap. A Transportation Safety Board investigation recommends all children be safely restrained during take-off and landing. - photo courtesy of RCMP

Held in his mother's arms, Isaac Appaqaq was the only person not strapped in when the crash occurred on Dec. 22, 2012.

"It's time to do right by our children," TSB chair Kathy Fox stated at a June 29 news conference in Winnipeg, noting that the law allows children under two to travel unrestrained on a parent or guardian's lap throughout any flight.

"Infants are not restrained at all, and a standard adult seatbelt is ill-suited for a young child. They deserve the same level of safety. What's needed is a proper child-restraint system, one that stops the youngest on board from becoming projectiles, causing injury and possibly death to themselves or other passengers."

Everyone else on the flight, including two crew members and six adult passengers, survived with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

The crash happened after the crew realized they had left key information regarding their approach and landing. They tried to abort the landing and redirect to Kuujjuarapik but bad weather there meant they had to land at Sanikiluaq. While the crew circled Sanikiluaq deciding what to do, the visibility worsened and the crew switched runways. Relying on instruments to line up the runway, and landing westbound instead of eastbound, the plane picked up a tailwind and came in "too high, too steep, and too fast," Fox stated.

"By the time the captain decided to reject the landing, it was too late," investigator-in-charge Gayle Connors stated at the news conference. "The aircraft impacted the ground 525 feet past the runway, bouncing and scraping along the rocky terrain for approximately another 1,100 feet."

"This accident saw an infant ripped from his mother's arms and killed in the subsequent impact, even though everyone else survived," Fox stated.

Perimeter Aviation was operating on behalf of Kivalliq Air. Nunavut News/North tried to reach Kivalliq Air for comments regarding the recommendations but did not receive a reply by the press deadline.

The TSB made a second recommendation, that the government require carriers to report how many children are travelling, including infants being held on laps.

"Commercial air carriers collect a lot of data," Fox stated. "They know how many seats have been sold, how much fuel is on board, and how much cargo is transported. They have to, in order to stay in business. But how many children fly each year? How many infants are held in the arms of a parent or guardian? We have no idea. And statistics are not available."

Canadian airlines carried 85 million passengers in 2013, Fox noted, but the government has no data on how many of those were children or whether they were in their own seats or on laps.

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