UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

  • Jan. 27, 2021 9:30 a.m.
A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG

PORT ANGELES — U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews continued their search this morning for a Cessna 170 single-engine plane that went down in rough seas between Vancouver Island and Washington State shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.

Chief Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier said the pilot, whose name has not been released, was en route from Ketchikan, Alaska, to William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles when his aircraft went into the Strait of Juan de Fuca south of the international boundary line.

Strohmaier said the pilot was the aircraft’s lone occupant.

“Hopefully, with the daylight hours and the winds slightly coming down, we might be able to find something,” he said. “We don’t know if he had survival gear on board that might have helped him through the night.”

Strohmaier said the pilot issued a Mayday call late Tuesday afternoon 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.

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

The pilot did not appear to be familiar with the area, Well said.

“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.”

Well said this morning a local pilot scoured the approximate area where the pilot went down.

“It was 20 minutes before sunset, and the Straits were just a frothy mess,” he recalled.

“The weather conditions and stuff made it real difficult to see anything with the rough seas.

“Just knowing the conditions, it was just frustrating I couldn’t do more.”

Well declined to identify the pilot, saying he has been in contact with the man’s family in Alaska.

Well said they told him the Cessna’s GPS tracker gave the southern tip of Vancouver Island as the pilot’s last known location.

Strohmaier said water and air assets were dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The 87-foot Coast Guard patrol boats Adelie and Terrapin were searching for the Cessna this morning in 12-knot winds, or about 14 mph. The Canadian Coast Guard’s 272-foot buoy-laying vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier also joined the effort.

Helicopters from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island have assisted as well as a Canadian fixed-wing aircraft.

— Paul Gottlieb, Peninsula Daily News. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

READ MORE: Disorientation and loss of instrumentation led to fatal plane crash on Gabriola

READ MORE: Two rescued from small plane crash south of Courtenay

Clallam County

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read