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A military rescue official says one of two men injured in the crash of a small plane into a mountain in Labrador has died after ground search and rescue teams struggled through a blizzard to reach the site.

Maj. Mark Gough of Maritime Forces Atlantic says the victim was a 73-year-old passenger from the United Kingdom.

The pilot, a 47-year-old Belgian national, survived.

Gough says the U.S.-registered single-engine plane was on its way from Goose Bay, N.L., to Greenland when it went down about 75 kilometres southeast of Makkovik on Wednesday.

The pilot was conscious and able to communicate with rescuers before the search team reached the pair on Wednesday night at a site about 500 metres above sea level.

Blizzard-like conditions hindered rescue efforts, delaying a ground search and rescue team from reaching the crash site for hours.

“We tried to get our Cormorant helicopter into the site, but the weather prevented us from getting anywhere near it,” Gough said. “Even the ground search and rescue team had a difficult time in reaching the site.”

A team of nine rescuers, including one local RCMP officer from the Makkovik detachment and eight volunteers, managed to get their snowmobiles close to the mountain and then proceeded up to the site on foot.

Two of the volunteers were also members of the Makkovik Canadian Ranger patrol, though they weren’t there in an official military capacity.

The team brought the pilot and passenger back to Makkovik, but a helicopter couldn’t fly into the community until early Thursday morning to get them to hospital.

The two men were brought to the medical centre in Goose Bay at about 5 a.m.

“One of the persons was seriously injured. The other, unfortunately, has passed away,” Gough said. He said the identities of the two men have not been released.

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