A plane crash, which kills 86 passengers and crew up near the Canadian Tar Sands development near Fort McMurray, brings FAA and Canadian air crash experts to the crash site in the middle of a Canadian deep freeze.
Kevin Browne, an FAA expert who comes in at the beginning of many air disasters has a reputation of finding the cause quickly. All possible causes need to be explored, including engine failure, airframe failure, pilot error and bird strikes as well as possible terrorist activity; the discovery of a live bomb starts a chain of events where the air line, the engine manufacturer and the airframe makers suddenly have a significant reduction on liability, but it also immediately brings in the police and the insurance companies that have policies on the crew and passengers. The passengers include the former chairman of Sun Oil Company, a special emissary for the President and an industrialist who is one of the most powerful men in America. What are these three men doing in the middle of February when the ground temperature is -50 degrees is a question and who would want to kill them?
The winter conditions and a blizzard make recovery of the bodies, the passengers’ luggage and the pieces of the airplane that have been scattered over a large area impossible until the snow melts.