Search for missing plane off Victoria, B.C. suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says
Published Wednesday, January 27, 2021 6:59PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, January 27, 2021 7:55PM PST
A U.S.Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles is seen in this undated file photo. (Twitter: USCGPacificNW)
VANCOUVER -- The United States Coast Guard says efforts to locate a small plane that went down in the waters between Victoria, B.C. and Port Angeles, Wash., Tuesday evening have been suspended.
Crews from both sides of the border covered a total area of 1,170 square miles in their search for the missing pilot, the plane's lone occupant, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Local fishermen and civilian boaters joined in the search, but the single-engine Cessna 170 remained missing through the night Tuesday and into Wednesday.
At 4 p.m. Wednesday, the search was suspended. Crews were unable to find the missing pilot or his plane.
In a news release, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Nathan Coulter, chief of search and rescue for the agency's 13th District, called suspending the search effort "an extremely tough decision."
He thanked the American and Canadian professionals and Good Samaritans who assisted in the search effort.
"As is often the case, these boat, helicopter, and airplane crews answered the call instinctively and without delay to come to the aid of another," Coulter said in the release. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the pilot involved."
Washington state air traffic controllers received a mayday call from the small craft as it approached the Port Angeles airport just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. The flight was making its descent from Ketchikan, Alaska when communication with the pilot was lost over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfred Laurier was assisting in the search from Victoria. A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-115 Buffalo airplane from 19 Wing Comox scoured the waters Tuesday night before returning to base.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles renewed its search off the Washington coast at first light Wednesday morning.
Searchers followed 22 different search patterns during the 23-hour search, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.