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Plane carrying Jean Lapierre and his family flying too high and fast: TSB
Morgan Lowrie, THE CANADIAN PRESS
First posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 01:46 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 01:53 PM EDT
MONTREAL -- The plane that crashed with former federal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre and six other people aboard was travelling faster and at a higher altitude than recommended, the Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.
The federal agency said the plane crashed in eastern Quebec last March 29 soon after the pilot turned off the autopilot and lowered the landing gear.
Almost immediately afterwards, the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 aircraft "rolled quickly into a steep right bank and descended rapidly" before smashing to the ground, the TSB wrote in an investigation update.
According to the report, the aircraft's mechanical systems all appeared to be working and the pilot was qualified for the flight.
"No mechanical deficiencies have been identified with the aircraft's engines, flight controls, landing gear, and navigation systems," it read.
The team has finished examining the site and gathering information about the incident, which occurred as the plane approached the airport in Iles-de-la-Madeleine.
The first phase of the inquiry included surveying the site, analyzing the wreckage, conducting interviews and gathering technical data on weather, air traffic control and operations.
Authorities will now study the data before releasing a final report into the crash, which killed Lapierre, his wife, three of his siblings and two co-pilots.
Investigators have not yet determined if weather was a factor in the crash, although the forecast indicated a potential for "moderate mixed icing in cloud" and moderate mechanical turbulence below 3000 feet.
The report also noted the model of plane in the crash had also been involved in two prior fatal accidents since 2008.
In that year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority implemented a requirement for MU-2 pilots to complete a standardized training program following a review of the plane's accident history.
The main pilot in the plane carrying Lapierre had completed the training and was qualified for the flight in question, the TSB's report said.
Lapierre, 59, was a longtime Liberal and Bloc Quebecois MP who quit federal politics in 1992 but returned after Paul Martin became Liberal leader in late 2003. He served as transport minister between 2004 and 2006.
He had been working as a political commentator for Quebec TV network TVA for several years prior to his death.
The crash also killed his wife, Nicole Beaulieu; his sister Martine Lapierre; brothers Marc and Louis Lapierre; and the two pilots, Pascal Gosselin and Fabrice Labourel.
National Transportation Safety Board inspectors go over the wrecked airplane in a field Wednesday, March 30, 2016 in Havre-aux-Maison, Quebec where ex-cabinet minister Jean Lapierre, his wife Nicole Beaulieu, two of his brothers and one sister died in a failed landing Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Noel

Plane carrying Jean Lapierre and his family flying too high and fast: TSB | Cana