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Dive to find plane wreckage in Saskatchewan lake delayed until winter

Peter Pond Lake in northern Saskatchewan on Aug. 28, 2018. RCMP divers were hoping to confirm wreckage located in the lake is that of a small plane that vanished on Aug. 20, 1959. Saskatchewan RCMP / Supplied

UPDATE: RCMP dive team hopes to locate long-lost plane in northern Saskatchewan

A dive by members of the RCMP underwater recovery team (URT) to locate the wreckage of a small plane in a northern Saskatchewan lake is being delayed until the winter.

Divers were hoping to confirm wreckage located in July by a private contractor in Peter Pond Lake is that of a Cessna 180.

The plane vanished on Aug. 20, 1959, with pilot Ray Gran and Saskatchewan conservation officer Harold Thompson onboard.

READ MORE: RCMP to begin dive to float plane wreckage in Sask. lake

They were on a short flight from Buffalo Narrows to La Loche to investigate poaching and deliver mail.

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Members of the dive team were on site at the lake on Monday and Tuesday to assess the possibility of a recovery dive.

They encountered a number of challenges, with the biggest obstacle being strong winds and high waves, making it hard for surface boats to maintain their positions.

Other issues were access and distance, low visibility, and the depth of the wreckage, which is roughly 60 feet below the surface.

READ MORE: Swissair Flight 111 crash 20 years later - how the tragedy unfolded

RCMP determined the best course of action to take to ensure safety was to delay a potential dive until the winter when ice can be used as a staging point and improved visibility is expected.

“The safety of our divers and support members is our top priority,” the RCMP said in a statement.

“If conditions are deemed too dangerous, no dive attempt will take place.”

The URT said they remain optimistic a dive can take place in the future to allow for a visual and physical inspection of the wreckage, and to possibly recover any human remains or items.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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