By The Canadian Press
CANMORE, Alta. — RCMP in Alberta say six people have died in a small plane crash in a mountainous area west of Calgary.
Police say the plane with a pilot and five passengers aboard took off from Springbank Airport, just west of the city, on Friday night and was headed for Salmon Arm, B.C.
It was reported overdue by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., and police say the centre contacted them about the plane at 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Police say a Winnipeg-based Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules plane was dispatched to look for the missing aircraft and searchers located it on Mount Bogart, about 60 kilometres west of Calgary, by honing in on an emergency locator transmitter.
“All six bodies have been recovered and the RCMP have secured the scene until the Transportation Safety Board of Canada conduct their investigation,” RCMP said in a news release.
“Alberta RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces extends condolences to the families and friends of those aboard the aircraft.”
The identity of the victims have not been released, and the cause of the crash isn’t yet known.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Ryan Singleton told reporters at a news conference in Canmore, Alta., that all of the people on board the plane were on their way to a church function.
Transportation Safety Board spokesman Liam MacDonald said the aircraft was a single-engine Piper PA-32, and the board is sending investigators to the scene.
He did not have information on the terrain, but noted the site was “difficult to access.”
Police said Alpine Helicopters and a RCAF CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Comox, B.C. also helped in the search.