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Air Canada flight to Fort St. John diverted back to YVR after encountering pressurization issue

An Air Canada Express Bombardier Q400, similar to the one involved in Sunday's incident. Wikimedia Creative Commons photo.
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VANCOUVER, B.C — An Air Canada Express flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John was forced to return to YVR on Sunday after the Q400 aircraft encountered a mechanical issue with the cabin pressurization system.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada media relations officer Sophie Wistaff said that Air Canada Express flight 8185 departed Vancouver International Airport bound for Fort St. John at 2:55 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. According to Wistaff, the flight crew reported a pressurization issue while at cruising altitude and requested clearance to descend to 10,100 ft. in order to continue flying to YXJ.

Wistaff said that after flying for approximately 100 nautical miles, the pilot requested clearance to return to YVR. According to data from flightradar24.com, the aircraft descended from 24,000 ft. to 10,000 ft. just east of Quesnel roughly 40 minutes into the flight. The flight then turned back to Vancouver and landed at YVR nearly two and a half hours after it departed.

A screenshot of the radar track of AC8185 on Sunday, November 26th from flightradar24.com.

Debra Williams with Jazz Aviation, which operated the flight, said that the crew opted to return to Vancouver so that maintenance personnel could attend to the aircraft. Williams said that the flight was cancelled while passengers were rebooked on the first available flights to their destination.

The cause of the pressurization issue is currently not known. Wistaff said that the TSB is in contact with Air Canada and that more details should be known in the coming days.

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