'Fuel starvation' likely reason plane forced to land near Beaverdell

A version of the Fuji/Rockwell Commander 700.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

KELOWNA - Fuel starvation or exhaustion is the likely cause of a forced landing by a light plane into a tree farm east of Kelowna on Tuesday night, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Regional manager Bill Yearwood said his office is talking to the pilot of the twin-engined North American Rockwell 700 trying to determine why both engines quit, almost simultaneously, forcing it to make an emergency landing near Beaverdell with six people onboard on May 31. 

“From what’s been reported to us, it is almost certainly not mechanical,” Yearwood said. “The chances of that happening (to both engines) is less than winning the lottery.”

Global News interviewed the pilot of the plane, Brent Miskuski, who described the dramatic landing that heavily damaged the twin-engine turboprop aircraft.

No injuries were reported during the landing. The aircraft was en route from Arizona to Kelowna and last stopped in Idaho.

Yearwood said the amount of fuel remaining in the aircraft's tanks has been measured and will be compared to the amount of fuel taken onboard at its last stop. Whether the fuel was usable or not will also be tested.

There is the possibility confusion over conversions may have played a role in the pilot not taking on enough fuel to complete the flight, he said.

“There is some question as to why there was a shortage of fuel onboard,” he said. “But we’ll let the owner and the insurance adjusters come up with the answers."

Regulations require an aircraft carry enough fuel for 45 minutes flight beyond the time needed to reach its planned destination, Yearwood said.

“From what we can tell, the plane was otherwise well maintained and operated properly and the pilot was properly licensed,” he added.


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