Plane search called off

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

The search for a missing small plane has been called off by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre on Thursday afternoon.

As of 3 p.m., the JRCC has decided to suspend their search and transfer the case to the RCMP.

Royal Canadian Air Force and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association have flown 320 hours in challenging weather conditions and covered more than 14,000 square kilometres over the past seven days.

The search focused around the flight plan of the missing white Van RV-6A aircraft. Crews scoured up and down Highway 5 between Clearwater and Valemount. The pilot's flight plan, cell phone data and radar data allowed them to narrow their search to the Blue River area. 

“Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the missing pilot and passenger during this extremely difficult time,” the JRCC said in a statement.

The JRCC thanks the support from CASARA over the past seven days.

RCMP will take over the investigation and it will now become a missing person’s case.

ORIGINAL: 3 p.m.

Weather is hampering the search for a missing plane on Thursday near Blue River, B.C.

Search and rescue crews are in their seventh day of search up and down along Highway 5 from Clearwater to Valemount for a missing single-engine, white, Van RV-6A aircraft.

The two seater plane with two people on board took off from Parkland Airport in Spruce Grove, Alta., and was on route to Chilliwack, but never arrived.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre was alerted on September 14 at 2 p.m. about the overdue plane.

Royal Canadian Air Force and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association have dedicated multiple flight hours to searching the area over the past seven days.

On Thursday, a CC-115 Buffalo aircraft, CH-149 Cormorant helicopter, six CASARA aircraft and one RCMP helicopter are searching.

CASARA search coordinator Robert McLean says they are working the area as hard as they can.

“Weather is deteriorating on us so we have been working as hard as we can but weather is holding us up,” he said.

Rain is pushing search crews out of the northern section of the search area.

JRCC spokesperson Katelyn Moores said a weather pattern is expected to come through today bringing rain, snow and ice to higher elevations.

“Our main focus is safety,” said McLean. “We’ve actually pulled those guys out.”

McLean said favourable weather on Wednesday allowed them to have a really good search day and have lots of coverage.

“We are on a bit of a hold here with weather and once it smartens up we can get going again here,” said McLean.

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