Ernie Whitehead, 78, and Len Dykhuizen, 55, pictured in 1987. Image: RCMP

Shuswap plane missing since 1987 discovered near Clearwater

A family finally has closure after a plane missing since 1987 was discovered in the Clearwater B.C.

Search efforts to locate a missing Alberta plane this past September in the Clearwater area led to the unexpected discovery of a plane last seen in 1987.

On Sept. 18, 2018, Clearwater RCMP were advised that the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre were conducting a search for a missing aircraft from Stony Plain, Alberta, when they came across another plane crash site near Kostal Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that this is a missing plane from Salmon Arm,” explains Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

“The white Piper Super Cub plane left Eagle Bay for a fishing trip to McDougall Lake on June 20, 1987.”

The plane had two on board, pilot Ernie G. Whitehead, 78, and passenger Len Dykhuizen, 55. Both men were from Eagle Bay, B.C.

Related: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Related: Plane missing since Nov. 2017 located in Glacier National Park

“Extensive searches for this plane had yielded negative results,” added Moskaluk.

“Since the discovery of this aircraft, the Clearwater RCMP has been working with the BC Coroners Service and local Search and Rescue technicians in efforts to attend the crash site. Repeated attempts to fly into the area over the past few weeks have not been successful, due weather conditions. The search is set to resume in the Spring.”

Moskaluk adds that this area is very remote and there are no roads or trails to access the crash site.

“The families of both occupants had been advised of the discovery and are aware of the ongoing efforts,” says Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP.

The Clearwater RCMP continues to liaise with both families who have asked that the media and public respect their privacy at this time.

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