By Pierre Saint-Arnaud, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Montreal: All six people aboard a seaplane that crashed on the province’s North Shore have died, Quebec provincial police said Monday.
The Air Saguenay plane went down in a wooded area on Sunday afternoon, police said, near the community of Les Bergeronnes, about 250 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
Authorities confirmed Monday all six bodies have been found and were handed over to the coroner’s office.
Air Saguenay vice-president Jean Tremblay said the Beaver seaplane was taking part in a routine sightseeing flight departing from Lac Long in Tadoussac.
Tremblay told The Canadian Press on Monday the flight was only supposed to last 20 minutes. It wasn’t windy and visibility was clear on Sunday.
“It was perfect conditions,” Tremblay said. “At first glance, the weather conditions are not at all the cause, that is clear.”
He offered his sympathies to families who lost loved ones in the crash _ among them, a longtime employee of the company.
Tremblay said the pilot of the aircraft had more than 6,000 hours of flying experience _ all with Air Saguenay, where he’d worked for the past 14 years.
“It’s not going so well,” a shaken Tremblay said. “This is not a good day for us. It’s very difficult for the Air Saguenay team.”
Tremblay said the De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver in question had about 25,000 hours of flight time, not unusual for a plane built between 1950 and 1960.
No distress calls were made by the plane before it crashed.
The airline upgraded its security system after another of its seaplanes crashed in bad weather in 2010, killing four of the six people on board.
It describes itself as an airline that provides charters for fishing, hunting and mining exploration.
The Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to the crash site and the provincial police say they are continuing their own investigation to determine if a criminal element caused the crash.
The wreckage was not accessible by road, and was located with the help of parachutists from the Canadian Armed Forces. Air Force personnel also aided in recovery efforts.
Bad weather in the region on Monday caused delays in getting to the crash site.
Authorities published a photo that showed the wreckage of the plane in a wooded area.
© 2015 The Canadian Press