After 10 days of intensive efforts, the search for two people on board an aircraft that was reported missing during a flight between Delhi and Marathon, Ont., has been suspended, search and rescue officials say.

The massive effort to find the missing Piper Comanche began April 14 and was led by the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) Trenton and involved 13 different aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Canadian Coast Guard , Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association.

Heavily wooded area covered in snow near Wawa (Joint Rescue Coordination Center Trenton)

More than 100 military, coast guard and civilians helped with the search that included 75 flights, 360 flight hours and covered about 17,300 square kilometers, said Canada’s Department of National Defense (DND) in a news release Sunday.

The air search has been called off due to the unlikelihood of survival, the JRCC said in a tweet Sunday. The case will now be turned over to the OPP as a missing persons case.

“On behalf of everyone involved in the search efforts, I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to both families. It was with them in mind that we worked tirelessly, despite challenging weather and geographical conditions over the last several days with our search and rescue partners,” said Cpt. Martin Zimmer, the search master of 1 Canadian Air Division of JRCC Trenton.

“RCAF search masters only request suspension of an air search after it has been determined the likelihood of survivability is no longer viable based on survivor models; after every reasonable effort has been expended; and, all investigative leads have been thoroughly exhausted in an effort to locate the missing aircraft and persons on board,” the DND said.

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The plane took off from southern Ontario around 3:45 pm April 14 and went down about 60 kilometers north of Sault Ste. Marie in a heavily wooded area less than three hours later.

London’s NAVCAN flight information center contacted the JRCC after the aircraft didn’t arrive at its destination at 6:45 pm

The two people on board have not been identified by police or search and rescue crews at the request of the next of kin.


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