A father and son from the town of Picture Butte, Alta., are dead after their small aircraft crashed in foul weather just minutes from their destination on Vancouver Island’s west coast.
The Cessna 421B dropped off the radar on Saturday afternoon.
The two men had flown from Lethbridge, Alta., with a stopover in Abbotsford, en route for Tofino.
The aircraft missed the initial approach and radar tracking shows it was banking around, possibly seeking a second try at the runway.
Thick fog and rain hampered search and rescue crews, who hunted for the missing plane by air, water and on the ground.
The wreckage was discovered Sunday morning by a Canadian Air Force helicopter crew from 19 Wing Comox in a heavily wooded area of the south side of Vargas Island, roughly five kilometres northwest of Tofino.
A four-member search and rescue crew was lowered from the Cormorant helicopter but it was soon apparent there was no chance of survivors.
Captain Ray Jacobson of the Canadian Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said it took the crew an hour to confirm the wreckage was from the missing plane.
“It was a high-impact crash,” he said Sunday. The area was “socked right in” with fog and the search crews only managed to spot the crash site because of a small break in the clouds.
He said the tracking data suggest the plane was on the approach to land in Tofino. It would have been at a low altitude when it began to circle around and slammed into the nearby island.
Police have not identified the victims other than to say they are a 51-year-old father and his 25-year-old son.
Both victims were located at the scene.
The B.C. Coroners Service and the Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash; however, Corporal Darren Lagan of the Island District RCMP said weather will likely be considered a factor in the tragedy.
“The weather was very foggy, there was heavy rain and limited visibility so that may have been a factor in the crash,” he said.