Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810 Crash

An east-bound Trans-Canada Air Lines plane vanished Sunday night with 62 persons aboard ini turbulent weather over the mountains of southwest British Columbia.

No trace of the plane has yet been found, and the search is being hampered by rough flying conditions.

It was last reported near Hope, 100 miles east of Vancouver, at 7:09 p.m. PST.

"There's more to this than meets the eye," Sqdn. Ldr. G. L. SHEAHAN, RCAF searchmaster, said today in briefing the 97 airmen taking part in
the search.

"We feel the aircraft is likely down in an area southeast of Hope," he said.

Two RCAF Cansos taking part in the search returned to the Sea Island base here two hours after the 7:30 a.m. PST takeoff due to turbulent weather.

"The extreme turbulence over the mountains is buffeting even the biggest planes," said RCAF Sqdn. Ldr. SHEAHAN. "But we'll stick with it as long as possible."

Nothing was heard from the plane after 7:09 p.m. when the pilot turned around to come back to Vancouver. He said a motor had failed.

The cause for the aircraft being at an altitude low enough to strike Mount Slesse is undetermined, but there is a high probability that the aircraft, while flying on 3 engines, encountered either severe icing, turbulence, subsidence, or a combination of all three, or suffered some other difficulty of such a sudden or dire nature that the crew were unable to communicate with any agency or control the aircraft. For undetermined reasons the aircraft was not on Green Airway No. 1 to which it had been cleared by Air Traffic Control. The following factors contributed to the accident: a) Loss of engine power No. 2 engine shut-down, fire suspected.; b) Existence in the area of known subsidence, severe turbulence, and moderate to severe icing probably in the lower levels.

The flight was bound for Toronto via Calgary. The cause of the crash was eventually attributed to the failure of one engine, which slowed the doomed the aircraft as it attempted a return to Vancouver in heavy turbulence and icing conditions. An engine fire after the plane had climbed to 21,000 ft. to avoid turbulence, forced the 3-man crew to shut it down and they reported difficulty maintaining altitude after turning back, eventually requesting clearance to descend to 10,000 ft. after passing Hope. Vancouver air traffic control cleared Flight 810 to cross the mountain range at 8000 feet or above, the final communication with the plane. Although it’s unknown exactly how the plane came to be so low, or 15 km. south of its intended course, investigators cited as contributing factors known subsidence, severe turbulence, and probable moderate to severe icing at lower levels in the area. It missed clearing Slesse’s third peak by only 10 metres.