Three people are dead and four others are missing following a float plane crash in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Air Saguenay confirmed to CTV News that seven people were believed to have been aboard the plane when it went down in northern Labrador, near the community of Natuashish. The number included four fishermen and two guides as well as the pilot, airline president Jean Tremblay said.
The identities of the victims have not yet been released.
Tremblay told The Canadian Press the pilot is a 61-year-old employee of Air Saguenay with more than 20,000 hours of flying experience. He does not yet know the condition of the pilot.
According to the RCMP, the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver aircraft was reported overdue late Monday night at about 11:30 p.m. It had been flying from a fishing lodge near Schefferville, Que. to a camp on Mistasin Lake in Labrador earlier in the day, and was supposed to have returned to the lodge around dinnertime.
When the float plane failed to return to the lodge and its occupants could not be reached via satellite phone, people at the lodge notified the authorities.
Maj. Mark Gough, a spokesperson for the Maritime Forces Atlantic Headquarters, said the members of the Canadian military discovered the plane early Tuesday morning.
“We arrived on scene overnight and while they were searching, at approximately 5 o’clock this morning Atlantic Time, they located the crash site and the wreckage of the float plane in the water of Mistasin Lake,” he told NTV.
Military and civilian aircraft, including a boat from the charter company, are searching the area for any signs of survivors.
“Search and rescue working on that -- trying to find everybody -- so we’re still hoping that we will find survivors,” Tremblay said.
Air Saguenay is a private charter airline offering flights throughout Northern Quebec and Labrador. It caters primarily to people visiting the region on fishing or hunting trips.
Tremblay said the airline completes the flight from Schefferville to Mistasin Lake about once a week.
This is the airline’s third fatal crash involving a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver aircraft in the past decade. Tremblay said the cause of the crash remains a mystery as the weather conditions on Monday evening were pretty normal.
“We don’t know exactly what’s happened,” Tremblay said. “It’s not a matter of weather, for sure, and we don’t expect it’s mechanic also.”
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to Labrador to determine a cause of the crash.