Comox man in his 70s dies in plane crash northwest of Tofino

Comox man in his 70s dies in plane crash northwest of Tofino
WatchThe pilot who died in Saturday's plane crash near Tofino was a man in his 70's from #Comox who flew regularly for @NOAA collecting air samples for a study on global greenhouse gases.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed a man in his 70s died in a plane crash northwest of Tofino.

CHEK News has learned the victim is Hal Schulz of Comox.

A plane reported overdue from the Courtenay Airpark was found Sunday morning, crashed northwest of Tofino, RCMP said in a statement.

The BC Coroner’s Service confirmed there was a single fatality in the crash. The BC Coroners Service also said the man’s body was removed from the site for identification.

A spokesperson for Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) says that rescue crews were dispatched Saturday late in the afternoon after a report that a plane did not return to the Courtenay Airfield at its scheduled time of 1:30 pm.

Crews found the beacon for the missing aircraft this morning and discovered a crash site north-west of Hot Springs Cove just after 9 a.m.

A representative with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says that the crashed aircraft is a Cessna 172, a four-seat single-engine plane. The TSB is coordinating with JRCC to determine if the wreckage will be moved for further investigation due to its remote location.

The TSB says it is very difficult to reach the site due to the remoteness and thick brush, and that they are coordinating with first responders to see if they would be able to send out investigators.

If necessary, they are able to have the wreckage extracted to be analyzed.

Schulz was a longtime contractor for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States. He flew regularly to the Estevan Point area on the west coast of Vancouver Island since 2002 to collect air samples for a NOAA study on greenhouse gases around the globe.

The RCMP says the flight originated at the Courtenay Airpark Saturday morning and was expected to be a two-hour return flight.


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