Texting while flying may have caused deadly plane crash

Chart showing the plane plunging during text
message communication 
By: Shifra Unger 

Investigators have proven that texting while flying an aircraft is probably more dangerous than texting while driving a vehicle.

Text messages sent and received during a flight may have caused a plane crash last fall in British Columbia, Canadian authorities said.

On a flight that should have lasted one hour, the pilot of a plane was several times on his cell phone. Finally, he got off the phone in the last 11 minutes of flight, which ended in a fatal crash of the Cessna 185E in British Columbia.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada published its findings on the crash in Fort St. John, British Columbia.

The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft and was killed.

However, investigators have determined that the pilot has received three text messages during the short flight. The pilot was on the phone for 28 minutes in what should have been a 65-minute flight from Peace River, Alberta.

"Between 17:19 and 17:55, the pilot engaged in two exchanges of text messages and five voice communications for a total of 28 minutes. The pilot received a final text message at 18:06, 11 minutes before the accident," said the safety board.

"The plane had suffered a number of large height deviations, while the pilot was using his cell phone.

While it seems that the pilot was not active in cell phone communications during the last 11 minutes of flight, this distraction was prevalent throughout flight and in conjunction with the conditions of the night, may have contributed to the accident," security officials said.

Three times the plane dropped from about 4,600 feet to 3,500 feet, around the time that the pilot was using his cell phone.