Two people were killed when a twin-engine plane went down on the Rae Glacier in Kananaskis Country on Wednesday afternoon, according to the RCMP.
Police, fire crews and EMS were called to the area after receiving eyewitness reports of a plane crash, according to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). RCMP said the plane went down at about 1:30 p.m.
At 6:20 p.m., police said the bodies of two men were recovered from the crash site. No one else was on board.
The small plane crashed near the peak of Mount Rae, according to RCMP Cpl. Chris Kosack.
“The wreckage slid down the glacier that’s there,” Kosack told Global News.
He added that eyewitnesses in the area saw the plane crash at a site that was visible from hiking trails in the area.
“It was very quick,” he said of their account of the crash. “They just heard a noise… they then had to turn around and they saw an explosion.”
Chris Krepski with the TSB said the organization was notified about the crash at about 2 p.m.
A Canadian Armed Forces Hercules aircraft was also deployed from Winnipeg to help in the search and rescue effort after the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton received a mayday call followed by an emergency beacon.
Springbank Airport-based Aries Aviation said the Piper Navajo plane was on its way from Penticton to the Springbank Airport when it crashed. RCMP had previously stated the plane was out of Calgary.
Typically the plane is used for mapping surveys, but Aries Aviation said Thursday this plane was simply coming back to base.
The company said the pilot, who worked with the company, was experienced. It added this is the first crash in the company’s history.
RCMP said the TSB will take over the investigation into the crash. Officers will hold the scene until investigators arrive.
The Rae Glacier is located about an hour and a half southwest of Calgary, along Highway 40 in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.