Search for missing passengers in fatal Labrador plane crash now a recovery mission, say police


The search for four people missing in the wake of a fatal plane crash in a remote area of northern Labrador is now a recovery mission, according to police.


The Air Saguenay float plane was found in the waters of Mistastin Lake, and an underwater recovery team will head down to the wreckage to search for bodies, said a spokesperson for the RCMP.

Police say it’s not known if anyone is inside the plane.

Mistastin Lake is about 100 kilometres west of the Innu community of Natuashish on Labrador’s northern coast.

Three of the people aboard the plane — including pilot Gilles Morin, 61 — were killed in the crash. 

A search found the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane submerged about two kilometres from shore in Mistastin Lake. 

Air Saguenay said Morin was flying with two fishing guides and four other passengers. They were were heading from a fishing lodge on Crossroads Lake near the Quebec border to a camp on Mistastin Lake. 

The party was due back at Crossroads Lake early on Monday evening, but did not arrive. A Hercules aircraft spotted the wreckage early Tuesday morning. 

The plane crashed into Mistastin Lake either on takeoff or landing, according to the head of the airline. (Michael Zanetti)

Jean Tremblay, president of the regional carrier, said Morin had been flying in and out of Mistastin Lake for at least six years. 

“Everybody is in shock, because this is a friend of everybody in the company,” Tremblay said Tuesday. 

The RCMP have now taken over the investigation into the crash.

Safety Board investigators will examine crash

Tremblay said the crash likely happened during takeoff or landing, and the cause is not known yet. 

Two military helicopters and a private plane chartered by the fishing lodge assisted Tuesday with the search. 

Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada will be travelling to the area to help determine what happened. 

It’s not known how old the aircraft that crashed was. Beaver aircraft were in production between 1947 and 1967.

It’s the third fatal crash of a Beaver belonging to Air Saguenay since 2010. 

  • One crashed into a mountainside near Lake Péribonka, Que., in bad weather on July 16, 2010. Four of the six people aboard were killed.
  • In 2015, another crashed into a remote wooded area near Les Bergeronnes, Que., killing all six aboard.

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