An expert tracker climbs a steep slope to the crash site of a plane which departed Eagle Bay in 1987, never to be seen again until searchers out looking for another missing plane found it in September 2018. (RCMP Image)

Human remains identified from 1987 plane crash near Wells Gray Provincial Park

Ernie Whitehead and Len Dykhuizen took off from Eagle Bay on a fishing trip, never to be seen again

The remains of two men have been identified, decades after their small plane crashed in central B.C.

A DNA analysis confirmed the remains found in a white Piper Super Cub floatplane last fall are those of Ernie Whitehead, 78, and Len Dykhuizen, 55, of Eagle Bay, just north of Salmon Arm.

The pair had left Eagle Bay on June 20, 1987, bound for McDougall Lake in a remote and rugged part of Wells Gray Provincial Park.

“RCMP are pleased that we have now been able to provide their family with answers to some long standing questions. This discovery ends over three decades of uncertainty,” said RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

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Last October, RCMP announced the plane had been discovered by a search and rescue team looking for an unrelated missing aircraft near McDougall Lake.

Efforts to fly into the crash site were hampered by weather and delayed until the spring.

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“The distinctively old crash site was amongst extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain. The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year-round snow pack,” according to Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP detachment commander.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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