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Air Canada Flight 189 was an Air Canada flight from Ottawa to Vancouver via Toronto and Winnipeg. On June 26, 1978, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 operating the flight crashed on takeoff in Toronto, killing two passengers.

Air Canada Flight 189
CF-TLV DC-9-32 Air Canada YXE 21MAY69 (5589984348).jpg
CF-TLV, the aircraft involved in the crash, in 1969
DateJune 26, 1978
SummaryMechanical failure, pilot error
SiteToronto, Ontario, Canada
43°39′35″N 79°37′32″W / 43.65972°N 79.62556°W / 43.65972; -79.62556Coordinates: 43°39′35″N 79°37′32″W / 43.65972°N 79.62556°W / 43.65972; -79.62556
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
OperatorAir Canada
Flight originToronto International Airport
DestinationWinnipeg International Airport


During takeoff at 8:15 a.m. one of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32's tires burst and partially disintegrated, firing chunks of rubber into the landing gear mechanism.[1] This set off an "unsafe gear" warning, prompting the pilot to abort the takeoff.[2] The aircraft, however, was already two thirds along the length of runway 23L and travelling at 154 knots (285 km/h).[3] It could not stop before the end of the runway, and plunged off the edge of an embankment still travelling at 60 knots (110 km/h), eventually coming to a rest in the Etobicoke Creek ravine.[4] The plane broke into three pieces, but despite its full load of fuel did not catch fire.[3] The accident was visible from Highway 401, which runs alongside the south side of the airport.

The plane was destroyed and two passengers were killed. Both were seated at the site of the forward split in the fuselage. All of the other 105 passengers and crew aboard were injured.


The subsequent investigation found multiple causes of the accident. It recommended greater scrutiny be given to the tires.[2] The pilot, Reginald W. Stewart, delayed four seconds after the warning light came on before he chose to abort the takeoff; a more immediate decision would have prevented the accident.[3] The investigators also criticized the level of training in emergency braking.[3] The presence of the ravine at the end of the runway was also questioned, but nothing was done.[4] This failure to expand the airport's overshoot zone was raised when Air France Flight 358 plunged into the same ravine 27 years later.[5]


Although it is customary for airlines to retire a flight number after a major incident,[6] Air Canada continued to use Flight 189 for its Ottawa-Vancouver route for several years.[7] As of 2018, the flight number is no longer active on Air Canada's timetable.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Palango, Paul (June 26, 1978). "2 killed, 105 hurt in DC-9 crash". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Canadian Press (March 28, 1979). "Jet's crash traced to 4-second delay in use of full brakes". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. pp. 1–2.
  3. ^ a b c d Graham, Bob (March 28, 1979). "4-second delay cost two lives report finds". The Toronto Star. Toronto. pp. A1–A2.
  4. ^ a b Furness, Richard (October 7, 1978). "Extend runway over creek, air crash jury urges". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. pp. 1–2.
  5. ^ Priest, Lisa (August 3, 2005). "Takeoffs and landings always pose risk of calamity, as history shows". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. A11.
  6. ^ "When Bad Things Happen To Planes, Flight Codes Get 'Retired'". Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "FlightAware: Air Canada Flight 189". FlightAware. FlightAware. March 28, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2015.

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