A Merritt man in his ’60s who had been reported missing is in Royal Inland Hospital after being found in a plane wreck at the Merritt Airport today (Feb. 10, 2020).
RCMP received a missing person report at 12:14 a.m. An investigation led police to the airport and the discovery of a small white and green plane on the tarmac with the injured man trapped inside. With the assistance of the Merritt Fire Rescue Department and B.C. Ambulance Services, the man was extricated from the plane and rushed to RIH for treatment of serious injuries.
The crash scene was turned over to the City of Merritt as of 11 a.m. The City of Merritt Public Works Department and the Merritt Fire Department were onsite at the airport cleaning up the wreckage and the airport was reopened at 3 p.m.
“The City of Merritt Airport is a non-towered airport, so flight planning is coordinated through the NAV Canada Flight Information Centre in Kamloops,” said City of Merritt chief administrative officer Scott Hildebrand.
NAV Canada has been notified that the Merritt Airport has been reopened.
“The investigation into what factors led to this incident is in its very early stages,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, media relations officer for the RCMP Southeast District.” RCMP will continue to support the Transportation Safety Board who is also investigating.”
Merritt RCMP are asking anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police to call Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.
Hildebrand said the Merritt weather station reports for snow accumulation on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb, 8 showed .6 cm of snow as of 3 p.m. Friday and .4 cm at 9 p.m. Saturday. The airport runway was plowed Friday from 2:10 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 9:49 a.m. until 10:40 a.m.
“This type of news is never easy to hear,” Mayor Linda Brown said of the accident. “My heart goes out to the person involved and his family.”