Victims of 1987 float plane crash near B.C.-Alberta border identified

Victims of 1987 float plane crash near B.C.-Alberta border identified
Victims of 1987 float plane crash near BC/Alberta border identified

The identities of two victims have now been confirmed more than a year after human remains were found in the wreckage of a float plane in Wells Gray Provincial Park, near the B.C.-Alberta border.

RCMP say that 78-year-old Ernie Whitehead and 55-year-old Len Dykhuizen went missing more than 30 years ago after leaving Salmon Arm in a Piper Super Cub float plane on a fishing trip.

The pair was reported missing after they failed to arrive in McDougall Lake on June 20, 1987.

Their whereabouts remained a mystery until the aircraft was discovered in treacherous terrain near the lake in September 2018

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre had been looking for another small plane that had been reported missing during a flight from Stony Plain, Alberta to Chilliwack when searchers spotted the old wreckage. They notified Clearwater RCMP.

“The distinctively old crash site was located in extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain,” said Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP Detachment Commander.

“The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year round snow pack.”



RCMP now confirm that, with the help of the Coroner’s Service, the remains found on-board belong to Whitehead and Dykhuizen, both from the Eagle Bay area.

“RCMP are pleased that we have now been able to provide their family with answers to some long standing questions,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey of the BC RCMP Southeast District.

“This discovery ends over three decades of uncertainty.”



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