Distress beacon activated on empty plane at Springbank airport ‘could have endangered lives’: RCMP

CALGARY –

Alberta RCMP are investigating after someone got aboard an aircraft parked at the Springbank airport this summer and activated the emergency signal. 

The incident happened at around 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25. 

Mounties said the aircraft was unoccupied at the time.

“When an emergency signal is activated, a distress tone can be heard by all aircraft in the area,” Cochrane RCMP said in a Tuesday news release. 

“Pilots of all aircraft entering and leaving the Calgary area heard the distress tone and were required to immediately report it in order to pinpoint the location and source of the emergency signal.” 

Cochrane RCMP, Rockyview Fire Services and airport staff had to force entry into various hangars until they were able to determine where the signal was coming from then deactivate it. 

“During this time, search and rescue response across the country could have been impeded,” RCMP said. “If any other aircraft had a legitimate emergency, their emergency signal could have been masked by this active signal.” 

RCMP said they’re in the process of interviewing witnesses and reviewing CCTV footage to determine who was responsible. 

It is an indictable offence to endanger the safety of an aircraft in flight by communicating false information.  

“This was not a minor act of vandalism or mischief,” RCMP Insp. Dave Brunner said.

“We are investigating this as a deliberate act that could have endangered lives and caused significant harm. 

“We are taking this matter very seriously and continuing with this investigation as a high priority.”

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Cochrane RCMP at 403-851-8000 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.

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