Four people are dead after a float plane crashed Friday on an island off the north coast of Vancouver Island.
The Cessna 208 operated by Seair Seaplanes was headed toward Calvert Island when it crashed on Addenbroke Island, about 100 kilometres north of Port Hardy at around 11 a.m., said Lieutenant Chelsea Dubeau, a spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria.
“At this time, Victoria JRCC can confirm there are four individuals deceased; there were nine on the plane,” she said.
The JRCC was unable to provide information on the ages or relationships of the four deceased, or the conditions of the survivors.
The crash has drawn a number of parties to the scene, including a search-and-rescue military helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft, as well as a Coast Guard helicopter, two Coast Guard vessels and a BC Ferries ship.
“Our search-and-rescue technicians and our Canadian Coast Guard partners will be working very hard to ensure that the survivors are taken to where they can receive medical condition,” Lt. Dubeau said Friday afternoon.
In a statement, Seair Seaplanes said it has suspended all flights, adding that it is “devastated” by the fatal accident.
“Right now, our focus is on working with first responders and authorities to provide whatever support is needed,” said the statement.
On its website, Seair says the Cessna 208 Caravan is the “flagship aircraft” of its fleet, allowing transport of nine passengers for 482 kilometres or four passengers for 1,609 kilometres, non-stop.
Seair, incorporated in 1980 with a single Cessna 185 for charters, now offers scheduled routes between Richmond, the Gulf Islands, Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. The company is based at Vancouver Airport, the seaplane base at the downtown Vancouver Convention Centre and on the Nanaimo waterfront. The company also has a charter service.
In November, 2009, a Seair de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was the subject of a crash that killed six people.
In that incident, the aircraft had been departing Saturna Island for Vancouver International Airport when it lost control, veered left and crashed into the water, according to an in investigation report by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). The pilot and one passenger survived with serious injuries, while the remaining six drowned inside the aircraft.
Chris Krepski with the TSB said late Friday that the board is aware of the Addenbroke crash and is in the process of gathering information to determine next steps.