UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

  • Jan. 27, 2021 9:30 a.m.
A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG

PORT ANGELES — U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews continued their search this morning for a Cessna 170 single-engine plane that went down in rough seas between Vancouver Island and Washington State shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said.

Chief Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier said the pilot, whose name has not been released, was en route from Ketchikan, Alaska, to William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles when his aircraft went into the Strait of Juan de Fuca south of the international boundary line.

Strohmaier said the pilot was the aircraft’s lone occupant.

“Hopefully, with the daylight hours and the winds slightly coming down, we might be able to find something,” he said. “We don’t know if he had survival gear on board that might have helped him through the night.”

Strohmaier said the pilot issued a Mayday call late Tuesday afternoon that was received by Rite Bros. Aviation of Port Angeles, which reported it to the Peninsula Communication 9-1-1 center in Port Angeles. Pencom reported it to the Coast Guard at 4:55 p.m.

Jeff Well, president of Rite Bros., said he received the pilot’s Mayday call at 4:40 p.m.

“He said, ‘Mayday, Mayday, I’m going down in the water,” he recalled Tuesday evening.

The pilot did not appear to be familiar with the area, Well said.

“I asked him to say your location, and he didn’t respond.

“I said, ‘Are you east or west of Port Angeles?’

“He said, ‘I’m going down behind a boat pulling a barge,’ and then, nothing else.”

Well said this morning a local pilot scoured the approximate area where the pilot went down.

“It was 20 minutes before sunset, and the Straits were just a frothy mess,” he recalled.

“The weather conditions and stuff made it real difficult to see anything with the rough seas.

“Just knowing the conditions, it was just frustrating I couldn’t do more.”

Well declined to identify the pilot, saying he has been in contact with the man’s family in Alaska.

Well said they told him the Cessna’s GPS tracker gave the southern tip of Vancouver Island as the pilot’s last known location.

Strohmaier said water and air assets were dispatched from Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The 87-foot Coast Guard patrol boats Adelie and Terrapin were searching for the Cessna this morning in 12-knot winds, or about 14 mph. The Canadian Coast Guard’s 272-foot buoy-laying vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier also joined the effort.

Helicopters from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island have assisted as well as a Canadian fixed-wing aircraft.

— Paul Gottlieb, Peninsula Daily News. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

READ MORE: Disorientation and loss of instrumentation led to fatal plane crash on Gabriola

READ MORE: Two rescued from small plane crash south of Courtenay

Clallam County

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plans submitted to the Ministry of Forests show an aerial view of the Christian Valley, just outside of Grand Forks. Photo: Government of BC website.
At one-year mark of pandemic, the B.C. tourism sector remains hopeful

The BC Regional Tourism Secretariat and five regional associations …

The Village of Warfield was incorporated in 1952, the year this picture was taken showing Annable. Photo: Joe Guercio
Trail Blazers: Sidebar to Trail-Tadanac amalgamation

Warfield said ‘No’ to amalgamation 54 years ago

Members of the Trail and Tadanac councils signing the long-awaited amalgamation agreement on Feb. 26, 1968. Standing, L-R: Otto Gill (Tadanac), Norm Gabana (Trail), V.D. Arcuri (Trail), Ian Somerville (Tadanac), Ugo DiBiasio (Trail), George Wilson (Tadanac), J.P. Logelin (Trail Administrator), John Hopkinson (Tadanac), and D.K. Smith (Trail). Seated and signing the agreements are Percy Halliwell (Tadanac Reeve) and F.E. “Buddy” DeVito (Trail Mayor). Photo: Trail Historical Society
Trail Blazers: When two towns became one

Trail Blazers is a weekly historical feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Motorists encountered a delay on Hwy. 3B in Trail Thursday morning. Environment Canada expects up to 20 cm of snow to fall on communities between the Paulson Summit and Kootenay Pass. Photo: Jim Bailey
Snow causes early morning traffic delays in Trail

Environment Canada is calling for up to 20 cm of snow to fall in the West Kootenay region Thursday

Shayna Jones. Photo: Louis Bockner
Kaslo performer collects stories of Black rural experience

Shayna Jones will create a performance piece about Black people ‘tucked away in the countryside’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

One recipient of a $500 donation from Kootenay Savings was Kimberley’s Spark Youth Centre. Above, Cher Berge KSCU & Bev Middlebrooks Spark. Photo submitted
Kootenay Savings hands out donations to non-profits

Employees at each branch picked a non-profit for a $500 gift

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

BC Emergency Health Services Advanced Care Paramedic Practice Educator Trevor Campbell. (Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation - Contributed)
ECG machines onboard Okanagan ambulances for quickest response to heart attacks

Donations from Lake Country, Predator Ridge, Vernon and Armstrong behind purchase of 8 live-saving machines

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read