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Tue, Jun 11, 2024

Seaplane Collides with Boat During Takeoff

Video Shows Effect of Broadsiding a Boat While Accelerating to Takeoff Speed

A well-filmed clip began circulating over the weekend, showing a Harbour Air seaplane as it began its takeoff roll and collided with a boat.

The aircraft was operating under Harbour Air, a seaplane operator in Vancouver, Canada. The firm is a common sight there, with a handful of single-engine, high-wing turboprops tethered to the dock in between a constant stream of revenue flights. Thankfully, there were no fatalities reported, between the 5 passengers on the aircraft and 4 on the boat. Some light injuries were reported, but were treated quickly since the collision was such an attention-grabbing affair. EMS was able to reach the scene in seconds, with occupants of both vehicles removed prior to either one's sinking. After all was said and done, the aircraft settled to the bottom of the bay.

Harbour Air issued a terse statement regarding the incident, saying that the aircraft was operating on a scenic tour with 5 passengers aboard and a pilot, with all "uninjured and safe". They were careful not to ascribe fault to either side, passively describing the incident as the aircraft coming into contact with the boat, but the investigation will likely discover more along the accident chain. From the looks of things, the boat was puttering along none too quickly as the aircraft began its takeoff roll - not really the best position to be in when a propeller is spinning up at max power on a collision course with the driver's head. 

The reception in aviation circles largely places blame on the boat for having interfered in the aircraft operations area, and it's not too unlikely that investigators will agree. Harbour Air operates tens of thousands of flights every year without such a happening, and unless this one particular flight was operating far outside the norm, the boat captain will be the one to shoulder the blame. On the upside, they were fairly fast to apparently aid the stricken seaplane, proving that while their head perhaps wasn't in the right place, their heart was.



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