Tragic end to search for missing cargo plane pilots
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 9:46AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 14, 2015 7:35PM PDT
Crews have recovered the bodies of two pilots tragically killed after a cargo plane crashed onto the North Shore Mountains Monday morning.
The pilots, whose names haven’t been released, were located along with the aircraft’s cockpit in a heavily wooded area near Crown Mountain on Tuesday, putting to end an exhaustive search effort involving multiple planes, helicopters and a ground team.
Cpl. Richard De Jong of North Vancouver RCMP said the pilots were 33 and 35 years old, both from the Vancouver area, and that their families have been notified.
Their employer, Carson Air, issued a statement saying both men were professionals who were well respected by their colleagues.
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of our flight crew. Our focus is on helping the families and our staff through this exceedingly difficult event,” the company said.
Authorities said Carson Air Flight 66 vanished from radar shortly after taking off from Vancouver International Airport on Monday. The Swearingen SA 226 aircraft was bound for Prince George, and was expected to arrive just hours after its departure.
The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating why the plane went down, and confirmed the aircraft did not have cockpit voice or flight data recording systems.
“Our investigations will be limited to basic investigation techniques, which we are comfortable with,” said Bill Yearwood, regional manager of aviation. “It’s my anticipation that we’ll find the cause.”
Before it disappeared from radar, the plane was marked at an elevation of 7,900 feet, according to the TSB. It then started plummeting toward the mountains and crashed at an area about 3,000 feet above sea level.
Yearwood said the aircraft lost altitude in a matter of seconds, and no distress call was made.
“The fact that the crew did not call or declare an emergency or have any distress gives us an idea that whatever happened, happened suddenly,” he said.
Yearwood said he’s not aware of any previous TSB investigations or serious accidents involving Carson Air.
He thanked ground crews from North Shore Rescue for locating the wreckage, noting there was little damage to trees or markings on the ground that would have made it possible to find the site from the skies.
After the plane disappeared on Monday, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre dispatched two helicopters to search the North Shore, where the plane was last seen on radar, and sent other aircraft to continue along its intended flight path.
The TSB said its probe could take as long as a year to complete. The BC Coroners Service is also investigation the accident, and sent members to the crash site Tuesday.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Lisa Rossington