British Columbia

Search continues for missing plane between Hope and Merritt, B.C.

The aircraft vanished after leaving Calgary on Thursday morning. B.C. crews hope to expand the search area on Friday.

Plane vanished after leaving Calgary on Thursday morning

Maj. Justin Olsen, the officer in charge at the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, points to a map of possible sightings of the plane. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

Officials are hoping for a break in the weather as they continue to look for a small aircraft that vanished in B.C. Thursday with two people on board.

The Cessna 182 vanished about an hour after leaving Calgary at approximately 9 a.m. PT.

The aircraft was flying a route from Kelowna, to Hope, to Boundary Bay with a planned landing in Nanaimo.

The rescue centre received an emergency locator alert around 11 a.m. PT, with the signal coming from a point about 166 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

The centre launched an air response from Canadian Forces Base Comox to look for the plane after receiving the alert.

Poor weather

Teams are searching between Merritt and Hope, not far from the Coquihalla Highway.

Lt. Melissa Kia, with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, said it's an an extremely difficult, mountainous area with low-lying clouds.

"Our visibility is hampered," Kia said. 

"Unfortunately, it's really limiting our abilities to get eyes on the ground."

Hope Search and Rescue was called in to help.

Team manager Mario Levesque said the team hopes to expand its search area on Friday if the weather clears.

"It's all up to Mother Nature," he said. "It's up to her, what we do today."

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