Searchers are bringing in specialized sonar equipment to help locate a plane believed to have crashed into the Fraser River between Langley and Maple Ridge on the weekend.
Maple Ridge RCMP Const. Julie Klaussner told the Langley Advance Times the gear, to be deployed Tuesday, was being provided by an “outside agency” that she declined to identify.
Conditions have been “difficult” for searchers, Klaussner explained.
“With the spring runoff, the river is moving fast, and visibility is poor.”
Klaussner praised the lone witness who reported a small plane going into the water, saying first responders wouldn’t have known without the tip.
On Saturday, just after 1 p.m., the witness contacted Ridge Meadows RCMP to report seeing a smaller white airplane flying low above the Fraser River, going into the water and then quickly disappearing from view in the area of 287th St. and Lougheed Highway.
So far, no signs of the plane have been found in the water or on riverbanks, Klaussner said.
Later on Saturday, Boundary Bay Airport in Delta reported a small plane with two persons on board was overdue, similar in size, and colour to the one spotted by the witness.
Police were told the initial flight plan submitted by the pilot did not take the plane in the vicinity of where it was apparently seen in the water.
RCMP have contacted the family of those on board the plane and advised of the situation and the on-going searches.
Several agencies were called in to assist in the search, including the Vancouver Police Department’s Marine Unit, which sent a vessel with sonar searching capabilities, as well as the RCMP air services helicopter, RCMP Underwater Recovery team, Abbotsford Police Department and the Langley and Maple Ridge fire departments.