The pilot of Wasaya Airways Flight 127 that went missing on Friday was found dead by search and rescue crews.
It took searchers several hours to reach the downed plane, with freezing rain hampering efforts on the ground. The plane had been spotted from the air much earlier in the day.
“Upon arrival, crews found the lone occupant of the aircraft, our Capt. Nick Little, not responsive and he could not be resuscitated,” said Sharon Smith-Baxter, in a release issued early Saturday morning.
“Rescue crews are on site now and will remain on site through the night awaiting additional resources to airlift our fallen crew member home.”
The plane, a Cessna 208 Caravan cargo aircraft, was flying between Pickle Lake and Angling Lake. It was overdue and when the pilot did not respond to radio calls, a search party was formed.
The plane left Pickle Lake at 9 a.m. on Friday.
Canadian Forces Search and Rescue began their air reconnaissance at about 1:15 p.m. approximately 28 kilometres northeast of Pickle Lake.
A helicopter was unable to reach the site because of heavy icing. Just before 4 p.m. the OPP launched a ground rescue effort, arriving on foot at about 10:50 p.m.
“We are devastated by the loss of Capt. Little,” said Wasaya president and CEO Michael Rodyniuk. “We have lost a dear friend and valued colleague. Our thoughts are with Nick’s family.”
Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler released a statement Saturday morning, expressing his thoughts and prayers for Little's family and friends.
"This loss is exspecially painful during the Christmas season and we will give special thanks this year for all the pilots and crew who provide vital air service to our northern and remote communities," Fiddler said.