BCGA Member Helps Locate Missing Aircraft

On June 5th a Beechcraft Musketeer departed Pitt Meadows airport around 0930am for a flight to Pemberton and back with a planned arrival time back in Pitt Meadows of 1200pm. At 1930 the aircraft was reported missing.

The Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria commenced a search utilizing both a DHC5 Buffalo and EH10 Cormorant helicopter. The Search lasted through the night and focused on the aircraft’s last known position near Indian Arm.

Around 1500 on June 6th more than 24hrs after the aircraft went missing BCGA member Brandon Campbell was contacted by a friend that had been snowmobiling the day before just southwest of Whistler. Brandon’s friend had noticed an aircraft at the base of a glacier and thought that it might be an old wreck. He noted that the aircraft was in good condition and there appeared to be no sign of human activity in the vicinity of the aircraft and took a photo thinking nothing of what he had just spotted and not knowing that there was an active search for the aircraft underway.

Brandon’s friend sent him a photo of what he had seen and recognizing the aircraft as a possible Musketeer Brandon posted the photo the the BC General Aviation Facebook group and told his friend to meet him at the airport right away. 

Brandon and his friend that took the photo took off in Brandon’s Cessna 180 and headed to the location where the photo was taken. Meanwhile active members of the BC General Aviation Facebook Group grew excited and pleaded with Brandon to call the Rescue Coordination centre ASAP. 

With darkness fast approaching, Brandon was not answering his phone. A few phone calls later we realized that he was flying. We contacted NavCanada and the JRCC to inform them that if they could track down CGPJA (Brandon’s aircraft) that they might be able to get some good search info. We sent the photo to that Brandon had posted to the JRCC and this gave them significant hope that the people might still be alive. 

The JRCC then called and advised us that the Search and Rescue Cormorant was in radio contact with Brandon and that he was leading them to the scene with the help of his friend that took the photo the day before. 

The crash site was located a few miles Northwest of Callaghan Lake near the top of the North fork of the Squamish River. Search and Rescue technicians quickly descended on the scene to find a note from the pilot and passengers that they were following the river down the mountain. Armed with this information the Search and Rescue helicopter found them minutes later. The pilot and passengers were un injured and suffering from mild dehydration. 

Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of Brandon, his friend that took the photo, the dedicated profeccionals at the Victoria Rescue Coordination Centre and the Search and Rescue Technicians at 442 Squardron in Comox the pilot and 2 passengers of the missing plane spent that night with their families in their own beds.