Search for recent missing plane yields aircraft that vanished in 1987

Aircraft was found in a remote area of Wells Gray Provincial Park

Police and search crews looking for a plane believed to have gone down in the North Thompson last month have stumbled upon another aircraft — one not seen since 1987, according to Mounties.

The discovery was made on Sept. 18 by pilots from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, but not made public until Wednesday.

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According to an RCMP press release, 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.

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

“The preliminary investigation indicates that this is a missing plane from Salmon Arm,” RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said. “The white Piper Supreme Club plane left Eagle Bay for a fishing trip to McDougall Lake on June 20, 1987.”

Two men were aboard the plane: pilot Ernie Whitehead, 78, and 55-year-old passenger Len Dykhuizen. Both men were from Eagle Bay.

“Extensive searches for this plane yielded negative results,” Moskaluk said, noting weather conditions in recent weeks have hampered efforts to fly into the area and get to the crash site.

Recovery efforts are slated to resume in the spring.

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

“This area is very remote and there are no roads or trails to access the crash site,” said Clearwater RCMP Sgt. Grant Simpson. “The families of both occupants have been advised of the discovery and are aware of the ongoing efforts.”

The discovery of the crash site came as crews were searching for a plane that disappeared last month 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 have been focused on the Yellowhead Highway corridor.

© Kamloops This Week


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