Plane recovered nearly 60 years after crash in northern Saskatchewan lake
A plane which crashed in Peter Pond Lake in northern Saskatchewan nearly 60 years ago has been recovered.
The plane was transported to the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum and Learning Centre in Saskatoon on Friday, where it will be on display in its current condition for the next year.
The museum is fundraising to eventually restore the plane.
The single-engine Cessna 180 vanished on Aug. 20, 1959, with pilot Ray Gran and conservation officer Harold Thompson onboard.
The men were on a short flight from Buffalo Narrows to La Loche to investigate poaching and deliver mail.
A private search, launched by Gran’s daughter and son-in-law, used sonar to find the wreckage of a plane in July 2018 in Peter Pond Lake.
In late January, RCMP divers recovered some remains of the two occupants of the aircraft and personal items, including a camera, a knife and a wallet.
Museum board president Dorrin Wallace said the plane belonged to Saskatchewan Government Airways, which played a big part in aviation history in northern Saskatchewan.
“I wanted to see the culmination of this story. I wanted to see the end of this story. I wanted to see this story to be able to be told,” Wallace said.
Local residents, two divers, museum members, and some of Gran and Thompson’s family members were on site during the recovery efforts.
“When people come from Lake Erie to Buffalo Narrows and a whole bunch of these people have never met one another before, in order to get that many people together to work harmoniously on a project like this, was nothing short of phenomenal,” Wallace said.
Wallace said other personal belongings were found during the dives, including the pilot’s ring.
“That was a very emotional moment and that happened just before the airplane came out of the water. It was found sitting on the edge of the wing,” Wallace explained.
Wallace said local residents helped with everything from the recovery effort, to cooking for the crew.
“We would have never got the job done without them,” Wallace said.
-With files from Dave Giles
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