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Vancouver Seaplanes Damaged in Attempted Theft
Three seaplanes in the Vancouver Harbour have been damaged after an attempted theft. Local police received a call around 3:30 p.m. local time on Friday morning of a person attempting to steal a Seair deHavilland Beaver seaplane. When the police arrived, the attempted thief had escaped, but not before damaging two other docked seaplanes. The suspect is still at large.
It appears the thief was able to start the aircraft, however, he was not able to get the aircraft airborne. While taxiing around the water in the dark, he struck two Harbour Air deHavilland Otters that were docked. The Seair aircraft was severely damaged and missing one of its wings. Photos show one Harbour Air aircraft with a broken wing and what appears to be damage from a propeller to the rear of its fuselage.
Harbour Air released a statement about the incident and diverted some morning flights to the seaplane base at the Vancouver Airport. However, all normal operations have resumed. Seair also diverted morning flights, but have since resumed normal operations. Both Harbour Air and Seair operate scheduled seaplane flights out of Vancouver and British Columbia, as well as aerial tours.
Attempting to takeoff or land a seaplane at night is extremely dangerous. Even experienced seaplane pilots would only attempt it in emergency situations. The lack of light on water doesn’t allow for the depth perception required to operate a seaplane. Very few seaplane bases have the necessary lighting to allow night operations.
The attempted theft is under investigation. It is currently unclear how the suspect got into the docks nor how he got the aircraft started. The deHavilland Beaver does not require a key for it to start.
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