BC float plane crash: 3 presumed dead

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Three people are believed to be dead after a plane crash Wednesday northwest of Port Hardy, BC

According to capt. Chelsea Dubeau, spokeswoman for Maritime Forces Pacific, said a witness reported the plane crashed in Strachan Bay shortly after takeoff at 10 p.m. 12:52 p.m.

RCMP say two passengers and a pilot were on board when the plane went down.

Mounties were called to the scene at 13:20 after receiving a message from the Joint Rescue Coordination Center that a Cessna floatplane had gone down in the bay.

Dubeau says multiple search assets responded to the incident, including a Cormorant helicopter out of 19 Wing Comox, a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, a Transport Canada surveillance aircraft and a Coast Guard rescue boat out of Port Hardy.

“No survivors have been found and the aircraft has been presumed sunk,” Cpl. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the BC RCMP, said in a release Thursday morning.

“The RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board are both conducting parallel investigations to determine what may have caused the plane to go down.”

Dubeau says the Coast Guard helicopter was the first to arrive on the scene and spotted debris and an oil spill, followed by Transport Canada’s surveillance aircraft that assisted with infrared sensors.

“SAR Tex [search and rescue technicians] was lowered to the lifeboat to assess the scene with the boat crew and after assessing the accident scene it was determined that further recovery efforts were beyond the capabilities of those on scene and the RCMP were notified and took over,” Dubeau said Thursday.

The RCMP’s marine unit and dive team were on their way to the scene Thursday morning.

THE AIRCRAFT BELONGS TO THE COAL HARBOR COMPANY

Joel Eilertsen, the owner of the Air Cab airline out of Coal Harbour, BC, confirmed Thursday that the plane belongs to his company.

He said he has had ongoing concerns about two weather stations that businesses like his rely on that have been out of service for some time.

“Sartine Island has been out for two and a half years, and Herbert Island, which is extremely critical, has only been out for about a month,” Eilertsen said.

“All we had was the airport conditions to fly on and the wind was between 15 and 20 knots.”

The airline’s owner says he has spoken at length with Transport Canada to try to get some movement on the issue.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Port Hardy RCMP at 250-949-6335.

Strachan Bay is approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Port Hardy.


This is a development story. Check back for updates.

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