Missing N.W.T. charter plane spotted, condition of pilots unknown

Air Tindi lost contact with a charter flight between Yellowknife and Whati on Wednesday. It's believed a Hercules searching for the aircraft spotted it, but there's no word on the two pilots.

Air Tindi flight was en route to Whati from Yellowknife and had 2 pilots on board, no passengers

The Air Tindi float plane airbase in Yellowknife on Jan 30. On Wednesday morning Air Tindi lost contact with one of its charter flights between Yellowknife and Whati, N.W.T. There were two pilots on board and no passengers. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

A Hercules searching for a missing charter flight in the Northwest Territories has spotted the aircraft, according to an official involved in the search.

Sgt. Alfred Beaverho, head of the Canadian Rangers in Whati, told CBC News early Wednesday evening that the plane was spotted near Behchoko, N.W.T. The Air Tindi charter flight was en route from Yellowknife to the community of Whati. Whati is located about 75 kilometres northwest of Behchoko.

There were two pilots on board and no passengers. Beaverho said there is no information about the pilots' condition. He said Canadian Rangers were heading to the aircraft.

Air Tindi president Al Martin said contact with the King Air 200 was lost when the aircraft was approximately 24 to 32 kilometres outside Whati Wednesday morning sometime between 9 and 9:30. 

Martin said two Air Tindi planes were looking for the aircraft. One of the search planes had medics on board.

The community government in Whati was notified in case the community needs to provide service in any capacity. The pilots' next of kin have been notified that they are unaccounted for.

Martin said the Transportation Safety Board and search and rescue were also notified.

Sgt. Alfred Beaverhoe, head of the Canadian Rangers in Whati, told CBC News that the plane was spotted near Behchoko, N.W.T. (CBC)

Royal Canadian Air Force spokesperson David Lavallee said the RCMP contacted the air force midday to inform them of the missing plane. The C-130 Hercules aircraft was sent from Winnipeg to help with the search. 

It was –23 C with blowing snow in the area on Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.

In a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon, Northwest Territories RCMP said they were also investigating the incident.

"Inclement weather is currently playing a factor in the search efforts," the statement said. "The RCMP wish to remind the general public not to engage in any self-deployed searches."

With files from Richard Gleeson


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