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)

Remains of B.C. men confirmed in crashed plane missing for 31 years

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

The remains of two Shuswap men have been identified after the small plane they were travelling in was discovered last fall.

A DNA analysis was used to confirm the remains found in a white Piper Super Cub float plane are those of Ernie Whitehead, 78, and Len Dykhuizen, 55, of Eagle Bay, just north of Salmon Arm.

The pair had left Eagle Bay in the float plane 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 Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, Media Relations Officer for the BC RCMP Southeast District.

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In early October 2018, the RCMP announced the plane had been discovered by a search and rescue team looking for an unrelated missing aircraft. Efforts to fly into the crash site in the fall of 2018, so the BC Coroners Service could begin their investigation, were frustrated by weather. The police said recovery efforts at the crash site were to resume this 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,” states Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP Detachment Commander.


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