Investigation of fatal B.C. crash continues in poor weather
An Air Nootka de Havilland Beaver crashed minutes after takeoff from a remote B.C. lake Friday
Investigators hope they'll soon be able to get a look at the wreckage of a float plane that crashed on Vancouver Island Friday, killing two people.
Weather conditions made it impossible for members of the RCMP and B.C. Coroners Service to get to the remote crash site on Hesquiat Peninsula by air on Saturday.
Bill Yearwood, spokesman with the Transportation Safety Board, said the teams had to use boats to access the shore of Hesquiat Lake, and then make their way up logging roads and through heavily-wooded terrain.
"The RCMP and [B.C.] Coroners Service teams got in yesterday afternoon, and will be in there again this afternoon," Yearwood told CBC News Sunday morning.
"They have not been able to fly in, so getting there is slow. They go by boat and then by land, and that's taking up quite a bit of time," he said.
Yearwood said TSB investigators must wait until the RCMP and coroner's teams are finished before beginning their work at the site. The TSB investigation may have to wait until Monday afternoon to begin, he said.
"If they're able to complete their work today, that will give us an opportunity to go in tomorrow. All of this, of course, depends on the weather," he said.
2 in hospital in Victoria
The float plane crashed Friday morning shortly after taking off from Hesquiat Lake, which is approximately 50 kilometres northwest of Tofino.
Two people escaped unharmed, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority said on the weekend that the other two people who were injured are both now in stable condition at a Victoria hospital.
Police have said there was a pilot and five passengers on the plane that was operated by Air Nootka, but none of the identities have been released.
- Poor weather hampers B.C. float plane crash investigation
- Float plane crash leaves 2 dead, 4 injured near Tofino, B.C.
Police say they believe the five passengers were hikers that Air Nootka was flying to the community of Gold River.
Storekeeper recalls meeting hikers
Dianne Ignace, a member of the Hesquiaht First Nation and a gift shop owner in Hesquiaht Village, said on Sunday that she remembers speaking last Wednesday with five hikers who she believes were on board the plane.
Ignace said the five people she spoke to last week were experienced hikers who bought some fudge, cedar bark roses, water and a glass ball. There were at least two women in the group, and the youngest member appeared to be around 50 years old, she said.
"They were on their way hiking … and they stopped in here and said 'hi' for about an hour," Ignace said in a phone interview. "They were fun people — we joked around about the hike, and about the stuff we picked up from the Japanese tsunami debris that arrived, and that's about it."
Ignace said there were three groups of people on Friday who were being picked up by Air Nootka at Hesquiat Lake, where the trail ends. However, she only heard and saw two planes pass by on their way back to Gold River, she said.
Ignace, who has been living in the area for nearly 40 years, said there are several routes that pilots can take to get from Gold River to Hesquiat Lake, and vice versa. However, most tend to either fly over the water, which takes about 10 minutes longer, or to "shoot over the trees and go right in," she said.
Air Nootka has released a statement calling the crash an "unfortunate incident" and identifying the plane as a de Havilland Beaver. Air Nootka says it won't comment further at this time.
With files from The Canadian Press