RCMP work to learn more on downed plane in Peter Pond Lake

By Charlene Tebbutt
January 29, 2019 - 4:26pm Updated: January 30, 2019 - 8:48am

RCMP officers are attempting to learn more about a downed plane in a northern Saskatchewan lake and are documenting their search online. 

Police divers and investigators are looking for more information about the wreckage of a plane believed to have crashed into Peter Pond Lake, between Île-à-la-Crosse and La Loche,  in 1959. RCMP have tried unsuccessfully to get to the plane to learn more about the wreckage and collect any personal items in the area. 

RCMP Cpl. Rob King said the underwater recovery team won’t be attempting to raise the plane to the surface due to its size, but the cold temperatures of late will make it easier for RCMP to bring equipment needed for the dive onto the ice. Investigators will set up large tents with heaters to keep equipment running while working in the cold weather.  

“There’s a fair bit of gear that has to go out onto the ice,” King told paNOW. “The ice isn’t so thick right now that we want to drive our trucks on so we’ve been mainly transporting things back and forth by snowmobile and trying to minimize the amount of equipment on the ice.”

A previous attempt to reach the plane last August failed due to poor visibility, strong winds and high waves, which raised safety concerns. King said divers have the location marked and know where to search once they get into the water.

RCMP also used an underwater drone to reach the wreckage and take pictures at the site.

“We know exactly where we have to go,” King added. 

The underwater investigation will be documented on the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages this week. The dive team arrived at the remote location on Peter Pond Lake on Sunday to begin the attempt at another dive.

Late Tuesday afternoon, RCMP reported the team had made five holes in the ice and are using sonar to map the exact location of the airplane. A statement from the RCMP said the ice is currently about two feet thick and was cut out using a gas chainsaw.

 

Editor's note:this article was amended Jan.30 to clarify the location of Peter Pond Lake.

Charlene.tebbutt@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt

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