Investigators travelling by ground to plane wreckage

TOFINO, B.C. – Investigators are on their way to the wreckage of yesterday’s fatal plane crash on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Cpl. Darren Lagan of the Tofino RCMP says police, search and rescue crews, and the BC Coroners Service were travelling by ground after poor weathers conditions prevented going by air.

The crash killed two people _ the other four people on board survived, though one is in hospital in critical condition.

None of the identities of those on board have been released.

Police say the cause of the crash remains under investigation, but there is no indication of foul play.

The Air Nootka plane left Hesquiaht Lake, about 85 kilometres northwest of Tofino, on Friday morning, but an emergency beacon was activated minutes after takeoff and the plane crashed soon afterward.

Police say the plane was carrying five hikers and was en route to Gold River, about 40 kilometres to the northeast.

The crash triggered a search that involved multiple aircraft, as well as an RCMP vessel, but difficult terrain and poor weather hampered those efforts. The plane’s wreckage was later discovered just north of the lake.

Local First Nations bands also helped in the search.

Air Nootka, a commercial float plane operator based in Gold River, declined to comment.

Lagan said it was a difficult search.

“It’s a fairly dense forested area,” he said.

There was “rain falling, there’s some light wind in the area and limited visibility. The waters are described as being rough — not terribly dangerous seas, but certainly higher than you would typically see in the summer months.”