The mystery of what happened to two Shuswap men who missing on a fishing trip more than three decades ago has finally been solved.

Pilot Ernie Whitehead, 78, and and 55-year-old Eagle Bay neighbour Len Dykhuizen took off for a fishing trip on June 20, 1987 and their white Piper Super Cub float plane disappeared.

WATCH BELOW: Original 2017 search for missing Alberta plane included area north of Kimberley, B.C.

“All of a sudden he just didn’t come back,” Whitehead’s nephew, John Harper, told CFJC news last year, when the wreck was discovered during another search.

“We felt great sadness that he was gone. Of course there’s always been that void — Whatever happened to him?”

Searchers looking for missing Alberta plane find wreckage of missing B.C. plane from 1987

The wreck of the plane was spotted on Sept. 18, 2018 in remote terrain near Kostal Lake by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), which was conducting an unrelated search for an aircraft, according to RCMP.

Kostal Lake, which is located in Wells Gray Provincial Park, is approximately 55 kilometres north of Clearwater and 106 km northeast of 100 Mile House.

Ernie Whitehead’s float plane found crashed near Kostal Lake in Wells Gray Provincial Park, B.C.

Courtesy: RCMP/ Global News

The distinctively old crash site was amongst extremely rugged and very treacherous terrain,” Sgt. Grant Simpson, Clearwater RCMP Detachment Commander, said. “The scene, which was not accessible by any roadways or trails, was difficult to reach due to steep inclines and the year-round snow pack.

DNA analysis was used to help identify the victims of the crash and end three decades of uncertainly, according to RCMP.

Harper agrees that the discovery provided absolute closure for family members who are still alive.

Here’s an updated timeline of the northern B.C. murders and manhunt

“We knew he’d gone down but we didn’t know if we’d ever have this day that [we] knew what happened,” he said.


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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