The RCMP and members of the Bay of Islands Search and Rescue Team scan a map of Lark Harbour Friday after a plane was reported down in the afternoon. — Photo by Jamie Bennett/The Western Star
Transcontinental Media — York Harbour
Searchers gathered in York Harbour Friday evening following reports of a plane crash.
According to Const. Chris Pittman of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s Corner Brook detachment, police received a report of a plane in distress over the community around 2:30 p.m. Friday.
The report came from a Corner Brook couple who were travelling in the area Friday afternoon when they saw what they believed to be a small, twin-engine plane in distress over the hills in the community.
Pittman said the couple witnessed the plane travelling northwest towards Lark Harbour before they saw a large, dark blue puff of smoke from the aircraft, which then did what they described as a “nosedive” before dropping out of sight into the hills.
Members of the Bay of Islands Ground Search and Rescue Team, as well as the RCMP were on standby as of 6:30 p.m. Friday as they waited on a Cormorant search and rescue helicopter out of Gander, which was expected to scan the area before a ground search was launched.
While they had been unable to confirm the report at that time and there had yet to be any aircraft reported missing in the area, Pittman said police are also working with the Canadian Coast Guard and are treating the incident as a credible one.
“My impression is that it is believeable and that is how we’re acting,” Pittman said Friday from York Harbour.
Police, search and rescue personnel and citizens of the town gathered near the town hall Friday as news of the incident continued to trickle in. Inside the hall, police and the search team huddled around a map of the area as they attempted to plan a route to reach the place where the plane may have crashed.
Pittman said given the rugged, hilly terrain in the area, a ground search would be difficult. He said once the helicopter reached the scene, technicians on board would be able to survey the area in order to determine if a plane crashed there or not.
While no search teams had been dispatched to the site as of 6:30 p.m., Pittman said, should a plane be found, it wouldn’t take long for a search to be launched.
“We’re going to assist those guys any way we can,” he said. “We have local search and rescue people on standby, which is the best knowledge we have, and once the helicopter gets here, we will go from there.”
The Western Star