WATCH: Crews recover crashed plane from Pemberton glacier

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Crashed plane recovered from Pemberton glacier
WATCH: Global News was there when crews recovered a crashed plane from a Whistler area glacier. John Hua with more on the tricky operation and why it was done – Jun 27, 2016

The 1963 Musketeer aircraft that crashed into Pemberton Icefield earlier this month was brought home Sunday thanks to the efforts of a local helicopter charter company.

The plane took off from Pitt Meadows on June 5 and was reported missing later that afternoon.

Snowmobilers spotted the Musketeer on a glacier near Whistler with all three people aboard alive and well. The survivors were transported off the mountain but the plane remained at the crash site.

Three weeks after the crash, crews from Blackcomb Helicopter braved the treacherous terrain to bring the plane home.

They brought in a helicopter to lift the plane off the glacier using a longline. The key, they said, was to strip all of the lift out of the plane’s wings so the helicopter could do all the flying.

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“We’re just trying to get it so it comes up level, so that it doesn’t want to flip one way or the other,” Tim Francis of Blackcomb Aviation said as the helicopter lifted the plane off the glacier.

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Eighty-one-year-old pilot Vern Hannah said he was grateful for the crew’s efforts.

“We’ve got a soft spot in our heart for that airplane and we would really like to get it out of there,” he said.

Hannah was there as crews carefully guided the plane onto a six-metre trailer.

After weeks of planning, a lot of hope and one perfect drop, the Musketeer was home.

“When things end well, we are all grateful and we’re happy,” owner Peter Jedynakiewicz said.

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The owner and pilot said their flying days are over, but they felt they owed it to the plane to bring it home.

“It’s a good, hard-working airplane,” Hannah said. “We’ll put it back together and it’ll fly again.”

– With files from John Hua and Jill Slattery

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