Four American men and three Canadian men are among the dead or missing after a floatplane crashed on a remote lake in northeastern Canada on Monday, July 15.
The de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver floatplane operated by Air Saguenay of Saguenay, Quebec, was expected to land at Crossroads Lake in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador Monday at 7 p.m. but never arrived.
Air Saguenay dispatched a second plane to the region and started other emergency procedures when the floatplane failed to arrive. The aircraft was headed from the Three Rivers fishing lodge at Crossroads Lake to a camp at Mistastin Lake, a crater lake in northern Labrador, according to CBC News.
After searching for the plane unsuccessfully for an hour, Air Saguenay alerted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), the search-and-rescue arm of the Canadian military. The unit located the missing floatplane Tuesday morning about a mile from the southeastern shore of Mistastin Lake.
The JRCC then sent two helicopters and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to the area to search for survivors in and around the lake. The RCMP has since taken over the investigation and has deployed an underwater recovery team to remove wreckage and look for bodies.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) will also send investigators to the scene of the crash, but not until the aircraft is recovered from the lake.
“The investigators will look at the aircraft, document what they see, take pictures; they may decide to take a part of the aircraft back to our lab here in Ottawa,” TSB spokesperson Alex Fournier said, according to CBC News.
Investigators said the floatplane likely crashed either on takeoff or landing in Mistastin Lake. As of July 18, four of the seven aboard the plane remained missing.
Pilot Gilles Morin, 61, of Quebec was among the men confirmed dead. The others aboard the plane were two fishing guides from Newfoundland and Labrador and the four Americans, presumably guests of the fishing lodge.
Jean Tremblay, president of Air Saguenay, said that Mr. Morin was a highly experienced pilot who had been flying in and out of Mistastin Lake for at least six years. Mr. Morin had been with Air Saguenay since 2011 and had more than 20,000 flight hours.
Mr. Tremblay said weather conditions were good in the region of the crash site on Monday and the floatplane checked out fine in its last inspection.
“There was an inspection (of the plane) in the spring and there were a lot of (flying) hours before the next inspection was necessary,” he said, according to CBC News.
The crash is the third deadly crash Air Saguenay Beaver floatplane since 2010. In 2015, a Beaver floatplane belonging to the company crashed near Les Bergeronnes, Quebec, killing all six aboard. In 2010, another Beaver floatplane operated by Air Saguenay crashed into a mountain near Lake Péribonka, Quebec, killing four of the six people aboard.
Mike Andrews, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section, focuses much of his practice on aviation accident litigation. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the family of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes. He is representing victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash and investigating the Boeing 737 MAX plane involved in that and a Lion Air crash a few months earlier.