Wreckage from crash at Merritt Airport now being cleared

Airport reopens after crash

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

The City of Merritt Public Works Department and the Merritt Fire Department are currently onsite at Merritt Airport cleaning up the wreckage from this morning's crash.

Mayor Linda Brown says she would like to thank all involved in the rescue effort.

"This type of news is never easy to hear.  My heart goes out to the person involved and his family.  On behalf of Council, I would like to thank our Public Works and Fire Rescue Departments, the Merritt RCMP, B.C. Ambulance Services and NAV Canada, for their work in responding as quickly as possible once we became aware of the incident.”

Merritt Airport is non-towered, so pilots are able to use the facility on their own and often do, says City of Merritt chief administrative officer Scott Hildebrand.

"Pilots co-ordinate the details of their flight plans through NAV CAN Flight Info Centre in Kamloops. That's how they get clearance to fly. We're not there all the time because it's such a small airport. We do regular maintenance but weren't there at the time of the crash." 

According to the Merritt weather station reports, about one centimetre of snow accumulated in the area over Friday and Saturday.

Maintenance crews plowed the Merritt Airport runway on Feb. 7 from 2:10 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and from 9:49 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. on Feb. 8. There was no plowing on Sunday, Feb. 9. 

Merritt Airport re-opened at 3 p.m. Monday. 

ORIGINAL: 9:30 a.m.

A missing persons report led RCMP to the discovery of a plane crash on the runway at Merritt Airport in the early hours of Monday morning.

About 12:14 a.m., the report came in for a missing person. The investigation led an officer to the airport, where he found the wreckage of a small green and white plane.

The officer found the missing man, a Merritt man in his 60s, and called emergency crews to the scene.

They were able to rescue the man from inside the single-occupant plane, and he was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. The man's condition is not known at this time.

"The investigation into what factors led to this incident is in its very early stages," said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, Media Relations Officer for the RCMP Southeast District. "RCMP will continue to support Transport Canada, who is also investigating."

If you witnessed this event and have not spoken to RCMP, they ask you to call the Merritt detachment at 250-378-4262.

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