VANCOUVER - Human remains found on board an aircraft that had been missing for more than 30 years have now been identified through DNA analysis.
Ernie Whitehead and Len Dykhuizen left the Eagle Bay area in the Shuswap region on board a white Piper Super Cub float plane on June 20, 1987. Their aircraft was reported missing after leaving the Salmon Arm area, but extensive searches at the time of its disappearance found no sign of the men or the aircraft.
"RCMP are pleased that we have now been able to provide their family with answers to some long standing questions," Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey said in a statement. "This discovery ends over three decades of uncertainty."
The crash site was located in Wells Gray Provincial Park in September 2018 while RCMP were searching for another missing plane. The crash site was remote, but a member of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre was able to rappel down from a helicopter to take photographs of the plane's identifying markings.
"The distinctively old crash site was amongst extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain," Sgt. Grant Simpson said in a statement. "The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year round snow pack."
Whitehead, 78, had been piloting the two-seat aircraft, and Dykhuizen, 55, was his passenger when it went missing.