All Ten On Board Killed
US and Canadian search teams converged on Lake Erie Sunday after
a Cessna 208 (file photo of type, below) crashed through the ice,
apparently killing all 10 people on board.
"Unfortunately, this has changed from a rescue mission to a
recovery mission," said Constable Brian Knowles of the Ontario
Provincial Police in Kingsville Sunday.
Eight men returning home from a hunting trip, the pilot and his
female friend late Saturday afternoon when the Caravan went down
into the lake. Snow was falling at the time. The wreckage was
spotted nose-down in the water and ice about a mile west of Pelee
Island. That's some 20 miles north of Sandusky (OH).
The Coast Guard says the pilot radioed a "frantic" call for help
shortly after taking off from Pelee. The flight was headed for
"The weather became a very big factor in our efforts," said
Capt. Dave Elit from the Canadian Search And Rescue Coordination
Center in Trenton. The US Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay cruised to
the crash location, where it stayed after snow flurries and low
ceilings and ice forced helicopters involved in the search to
abandon the site.
president of Georgian Express, which owns the Caravan, brushed
aside speculation that the low clouds, freezing drizzle and snow
caused the plane to go down. "It's very capable of flying in this
weather," he said. "The weather was poor down there, but from what
we know, it is flyable type of weather."
Mulrooney, speaking from the company's headquarters in
Mississauga (ON), said Georgian Express flies between Pelee Island
and Windsor three times a day -- in all kinds of weather. But
another pilot who had already made six trips between Pelee and
northern Ohio said he decided to knock off before 5:00 pm because
conditions were unsafe.
"It's nasty," he said. "It's freezing drizzle, kind of bad."
Canadian investigators arrived at the scene Sunday to take
charge of the investigation.