Saskatchewan

RCMP planning an attempt to recover 1959 plane crash wreckage from lake in northern Sask.

The RCMP says it is going to attempt to recover a plane which crashed in Peter Pond Lake in northern Saskatchewan back in 1959.

The 'totality' of the situation has to be assessed before divers can get in water, RCMP says

Pilot Ray Gran stands by the Cessna 180 with his brother Maurice Gran. Taken August 10, 1959, 10 days before the crash. (Submitted by Donald Kapusta)

The RCMP says it is going to attempt to recover a plane which crashed in Peter Pond Lake in northern Saskatchewan in 1959.

A recovery effort such as that requires several steps before anyone goes into the water, according to Cpl. Rob King, an RCMP spokesperson.

"We have to look at what there is for shore support, what there is for the logistics of the dive because it's going to take a great deal of equipment to do a dive like this safely," he said.

When the plane went down just west of Buffalo Narrows, it took pilot Ray Gran and conservation officer Harold Thompson with it.

Foggy conditions contributed to the crash, which occurred on Aug. 20, 1959. Rescue crews spent months searching the area to no success. By the next March, the search had been called off.

The plane remained undiscovered until this year when Gran's son-in-law, Donald Kapusta, teamed up with an expert in underwater side scan sonar, Garry Kozak. They found the wreckage at the end of July.

Even if things go right, there is still no guarantee divers will actually make it into the water. Weather conditions, safety concerns or unfavourable debris are just some of the factors which could cancel the dive.

"Our dive team is probably one of the most dangerous roles for our members in the RCMP," King said.

For now, the dive is tentatively scheduled for the week of Aug. 27.

With files from Heidi Atter

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