Missing northern Ontario plane found, no survivors


The commercial plane with two passengers that went missing in a remote area of northern Ontario on Feb. 28 has been located just south of Chaucer Lake, Ont. by the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) aircraft at approximately 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) search and rescue technicians (SAR Techs) were deployed from a CH-146 Griffon helicopter at about 11:55 a.m.

Unfortunately, when the RCAF SAR Techs arrived on scene, the occupants were found deceased.

“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we hope it brings closure to the family and friends,” said Captain David Baird, a Searchmaster 1 with the RCAF’s Search and Rescue Region Trenton, in a news release Saturday.

“Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”

The Cessna 208 left Nakina – located nearly 350 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay – around 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 en route to Eabametoong First Nation, also known as Fort Hope.

Search and rescue (SAR) incidents under the federal SAR mandate are defined as all aircraft incidents and all marine incidents in waters under federal jurisdiction with few exceptions.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton began the search with an RCAF aircraft and a civilian aircraft on Feb. 28 after the plane did not arrive at Fort Hope as scheduled.

The search was upgraded to a major SAR operation on Wednesday.

At its height, the search involved: Five RCAF aircraft; one Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources helicopter, one Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) helicopter, one Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) helicopter; and two CASARA aircraft flown by volunteers along with approximately 60 individuals in the air and on the ground from various organizations including 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton; 435 and 442 Transport and Rescue Squadrons, 19 Wing Comox; 439 Combat Support Squadron and 3 Wing Bagotville. Webequie First Nation and local Canadian Rangers also conducted ground search activity in the area.

“We would like to thank the local communities for their support, as well as those who contacted us with tips,” said Baird.

“We also thank members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Canadian Coast Guard, Ontario Provincial Police, Webequie First Nation, the Canadian Rangers and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association volunteers for their tireless efforts over the past few days.”

Officials have not released the name of the company that owns the plane or the identities of the two deceased individuals.

The OPP and Transport Canada have been advised of the results of the search.

The Transportation Safety Board will be launching an investigation into the cause of this crash.

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