Deceased at 32-year-old plane crash site identified as pilot, passenger

Pilot Ernie Whitehead, 78, and 55-year-old passenger Len Dykhuizen were flying to McDougall Lake from Eagle Bay when their plane crashed on June 20, 1987

Human remains discovered in September 2018 at the site of an aircraft crash in 1987 have now been identified by the RCMP with the assistance of the BC Coroners Service.

As expected, the remains have been identified as those of pilot Ernie Whitehead, 78, and 55-year-old passenger Len Dykhuizen. Both men were from Eagle Bay.

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missing plane passenger
Ernie Whitehead was 78 when the plane he was in crashed in Wells Gray Provincial Park in 1987.

Search crews from the air found the 1987 wreck in a remote area near Kostal Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is about 90 minutes north of Kamloops. The discovery of the crash site came as crews were searching for a plane that disappeared in September 2018 while flying from Edmonton to Chilliwack. The white Vans RV6 two-seat private plane went down on Sept. 11 somewhere between the two cities and searchers had been focused on the Yellowhead Highway corridor.

missing plane passenger
Fifty-five year old Len Dykhuizen as he appeared in 1987.

The white Piper Supreme Club plane carrying Whitehead and Dykhuizen left Eagle Bay for a fishing trip to McDougall Lake on June 20, 1987.

“The distinctively old crash site was amongst extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain,” Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Grant Simpson said. “The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year round snow pack.”

Police were aided in the investigation by the BC Conservation Service, Emergency Management BC, BC Parks and Yellowhead Helicopters.


© Kamloops This Week


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