Transportation Safety Board follows up on airplane crash

Published on March 4, 2014
The pilot of this Cessna airplane was not seriously injured when the plane crashed into a tree in a Yarmouth County cemetery on Sunday morning, March 2.
Tina Comeau photo/Yarmouth Vanguard

YARMOUTH - The Transportation Safety Board is following up on an airplane crash that saw the pilot crash into a tree in Arcadia on Sunday.

But unless there is a potential public safety issue identified – as opposed to it just being an isolated case – the board doesn’t produce or issue a report.

"Really, we only investigate selected occurrences and those are the ones where we see a safety potential," said Mike Cunningham, a regional manager with the Transportation Safety Board.

He says they didn’t dispatch an investigator in person to Yarmouth, however an investigator has been following up with the aircraft maintenance engineer who was examining the airplane. He has also spoken with the pilot by telephone and is collecting other data information, including information about weather conditions.

On Sunday morning local businessman and pilot Dave Arenburg had to conduct an emergency landing when his Piper Cub aircraft lost engine power. Although he was close to the Yarmouth airport, he knew he wouldn’t make it, so instead he aimed to land in a field he knew of in Arcadia.

But it became evident, while he had his aircraft in glide mode, that he wouldn’t make it to the field either for an emergency landing so he chose instead to fly into some trees, as opposed to hitting the ground. The tree his aircraft crashed into, fortunately at a low speed, was in the Arcadia Cemetery on the Kinney Hill Road.

Arenburg wasn’t injured, other than suffering a bit of a chemical burn from fuel and a scratch on his hand. Firefighters who attended to the scene helped him down from the plane.

Arenburg later told the Vanguard he believed his aircraft had experience carburetor icing due to deteriorating weather conditions while he was in flight.

The Transportation Safety Board says if that is the case, it may be difficult to pinpoint.

"If you had icing in the carburetor, typically there's no evidence after the fact," Cunningham says. "We certainly know that he had fuel on board so there's no issues there."

The aircraft was removed from the crash site early the next morning.