News / Halifax

Air Canada Flight 624: Timeline of a crash landing

HALIFAX — On March 28, 2015, an Airbus A320-211, operating as Air Canada Flight 624, flew from Toronto to Halifax with 133 passengers and five crew members. Here is how the Transportation Safety Board chronicles the flight's progress — and its crash landing in blizzard conditions (some times approximate):

10:05 p.m. — Plane leaves Lester B. Pearson International Airport for Stanfield International Airport.

10:56 — Air Canada tells flight crew an Air Canada flight had landed on Halifax's Runway 05 after a missed approach due to insufficient visibility. The crew determines conditions are suitable for the aircraft to land.

11:25 — Because of weather conditions, the Stanfield controller tells crew to hold at 9,000 feet.

12:07 — Captain indicates flight will have to divert to Moncton if the weather does not improve within 20 minutes.

12:16 — Tower controller tells flight crew visibility is a half-mile in snow and drifting snow, and that vertical visibility is 300 feet. Flight crew determines they will carry out an approach to Runway 05.

12:17 — Crew asks tower to confirm runway lights are on setting 5. The tower controller, who is also dealing with snowplows on the runway and an aircraft taxiing for Runway 05, says lights are currently on setting 4, but would be on setting 5 in time for the landing.

12:27 — Tower controller clears AC624 to land; runway lights remain at setting 4.

12:27 — As aircraft descends, its flight path diverges because of wind variations. Divergence continues to increase throughout the approach.

12:29 — Captain disconnects autopilot, and plane makes automated calls they are 100 and then 50 feet above land. Co-pilot says to pull up. AC624 severs an electrical power line, cutting power to the airport terminal.

12:29 — The captain advances thrust levers to the takeoff go-around and pulls side-stick to the full nose-up position. A left main tire hits an approach light 861 feet from the runway threshold.

12:30 — The main landing gear, aft lower fuselage, and left engine cowling strike the snow-covered ground on an embankment sloping up toward the runway. The plane strikes the localizer antenna array and continues airborne before striking the ground twice more and then sliding along the runway.

12:30 — Aircraft comes to rest about 1,900 feet beyond the threshold. It has completely lost power.

12:30 — Tower controller activates crash alarm.

12:32 — As passengers complete evacuation, firefighters arrive at accident site.

12:36 — Passengers, many wearing open-toed shoes, shorts, and T-shirts and carrying baggage, are grouped about 200 metres behind the aircraft in frigid temperatures. Occupants with more severe injuries sit in emergency vehicles.

12:42 — Firefighters confirm everyone has evacuated the aircraft and request transportation to bring them to shelter.

1:22 — About 50 minutes after the aircraft came to a stop, all remaining passengers are transported to an indoor holding area.

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