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Deadly Plane Crash: the Pilot was flying high on Cannabis

Investigation of a plane accident that killed a pilot, a passenger and left two other passengers seriously injured showed a very high level of THC in a Canadian pilot who was flying a Cessna 208B Caravan operated by Air Tindi Ltd. near Lutsel K’e, Northwest Territories.

The toxicology report indicates that the significant amount of THC found in the pilot’s system impaired his performance and adversely effected his decision making.

Even though the pilot was well qualified to fly using instruments, he chose to fly at a low altitude in foggy conditions. The low visibility prevented the pilot from seeing and avoiding terrain.

Because the potency of cannabis has doubled in the last 15 years, there is an ongoing concern in Canada and the US that this may also lead to an increased incidence of impairment in people working in the transportation industry.

A 2009 report for the Federal Aviation Administration, found that since 1997 there is an increase of cannabinoids concentration in individuals tested after a fatal aviation accident. The study also shows that the number of potentially THC impaired individuals involved in fatal aviation crashes has increased by 1.8% betwwen 1997 an 2006.