Search for missing Ontario aircraft ends in tragedy

A days-long search for a small aircraft that went missing between Nakina and Fort Hope on Tuesday has ended in tragedy, after both occupants of the plane were found deceased on Saturday.

The missing Cessna 208 commercial aircraft was discovered around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday by a Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) Cessna Skymaster, as the search entered its fifth day.

The crashed plane was discovered just south of Chaucer Lake, roughly 100 kilometres north of Nakina.

Members of the RCAF arrived at the scene just before noon in a CH-146 Griffon helicopter, finding the two occupants absent of vital signs, according to a spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) Trenton.

The JRCC did not identify the deceased in a release issued Saturday evening.

“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we hope it brings closure to the family and friends,” said RCAF searchmaster Capt. David Baird in a statement. “Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”

The missing Cessna was reported overdue on Tuesday afternoon after failing to arrive in Fort Hope, also known as Eabametoong First Nation, located about 150 kilometres northeast of Armstrong.

A Thunder Bay-based air task force was struck on Thursday, with more than half a dozen aircraft and support from groups including the Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Coast Guard, the volunteer Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), OPP, and Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

The JRCC said the OPP and Transport Canada had been advised of the discovery, while the Transportation Safety Board is expected to launch an investigation into the cause of the crash.

JRCC Trenton is operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Coast Guard and coordinates search and rescue responses over a wide swath of central and northern Canada.

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