April 15, 2015 - 5:00 AM
VANCOUVER - Search and rescue crews have found the bodies of two pilots in and around the wreckage of a cargo plane that crashed in heavily treed mountains north of Vancouver.
The discovery came a day after the Sweringen SA 226 aircraft disappeared from the radar screen while on its way from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C.
Navy Lt. Paul Trenholm of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre said one pilot's body was found in the front portion of the aircraft Tuesday morning and the body of the second pilot was discovered nearby a few hours later.
"Both pilots are deceased, unfortunately," Trenholm said from Victoria. "We wish that this had turned out a different way."
The plane was in pieces.
"Our ground crews first came across portions of the wing, then finally the main body, and the tail was later identified," he said, adding the front part was eventually found.
Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP said the bodies of the 33- and 35-year-old pilots have been removed from the wreckage. He did not identify them but said they lived in the Vancouver area and their families have been notified.
Trenholm said the crash site is located southeast of Crown Mountain, directly south of Cathedral Mountain, and on a northeast bearing from Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver.
The site was discovered thanks in part to the work of Nav Canada, the civil air navigation agency that provides air traffic control services.
Trenholm said Nav Canada identified a "high probability zone" where search and rescue teams could focus their efforts.
Pilots operating at about 1,350 metres faced near-zero temperatures and turbulence Monday, while ground crews reported snow depths that made it difficult to get around, he said.
It also snowed overnight.
Coroner Barb McLintock said two coroners, one from the Metro Vancouver office and another from the special identification unit, were flown close to the crash site, before hiking in.
The bodies of the male pilots have been removed from the site, she said.
Trenholm said the search and rescue operation involved multiple agencies and groups, including the Royal Canadian Air Force and North Shore Rescue.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015