A plane crash near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, claimed the lives of five people Sunday, including the pilot and four employees of marine transportation firm Seaspan International Ltd.

The two survivors were  flown to hospital in Comox Sunday after search crews located the remains of the plane about 10 kilometres south of Port Hardy.

The Pacific Coastal Airlines plane, with six passengers and a pilot on board, crashed on Sunday morning after taking off from Port Hardy airport for what was supposed to be a 20-minute flight to Chamiss Bay, but never made it.

Rescuers spent the day trying to find the crash site, with help from a person who was on board the Gumman Goose amphibian plane, and who was communicating with a friend, using a cell phone.

Lt.-Cmdr. Gerry Pash of the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says rescue crews had a challenging time locating the survivors and the aircraft.

Pash said one of the survivors could see the search aircraft, but the rescuers couldn't see him.

Seaspan issued a statement on Sunday, confirming that four employees had died in the crash. It said the identities of the victims is being witheld, pending notification of next of kin.