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Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

Canadian rescue crews along with their American counterparts are currently searching the waters between Victoria and Washington State for a downed plane with one man on board.

A CC-115 Buffalo airplane from CFB Comox along with a Canadian Coast Guard vessel are searching the water following a mayday call from a Cessna 170 airplane over the Strait of Juan de Fuca shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

According to a report posted to the United States Coast Guard social media account, the search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles. They noted the flight originated from Ketchikan, AK.

Chief Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier told the Port Angeles-based Peninsula Daily News that the plane’s male pilot departed from Ketchikan, Alaska, earlier today en route to William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles.

Strohmaier said it appeared the pilot issued a Mayday call that was received by Rite Bros. Aviation of Port Angeles, which reported it to the Peninsula Communication 9-1-1 center in Port Angeles. Pencom reported it to the Coast Guard at 4:55 p.m.

Jeff Well, president of Rite Bros., said he received the pilot’s Mayday call at 4:40 p.m. and that it did not appear anyone else was on board because the pilot did not indicate there was a passenger.

Well said the pilot was from Alaska and declined to identify him, saying he has been in contact with the pilot’s family in Alaska.

“He said, ‘Mayday, Mayday, I’m going down in the water,” Well recalled this evening.

“I asked him to say your location, and he didn’t respond.

“I said are you east or west of Port Angeles.

“He said, ‘I’m going down behind a boat pulling a barge,’ and then, nothing else.”

Strohmaier said the Coast Guard, too, has determined there was one individual on the aircraft.

Well, wh0 flew over the Strait of Juan de Fuca earlier today, said it was windy and that the water was “a mess” of chopping waves.

Strohmaier said water and air assets were dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles to search for the aircraft.

As of 6:40 p.m., no wreckage had been found.

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound spokesman said the call was reported at 4:55 p.m.

“We just sent our small boat station boat crew, an 87-foot patrol boat and a helicopter to go on scene,” he said at 6:15 p.m.

The patrol boat was the Adelie.

This is a breaking news story and more information will be added as soon as it becomes available.

— Paul Gottlieb, Peninsula Daily News



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com
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Erin Haluschak

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Erin Haluschak

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