NEWS

Helicopter missing in B.C.

09/17/2011 08:09 EDT | Updated 11/17/2011 05:12 EST

An extensive search continued Saturday night for a helicopter that did not arrive as scheduled in Kelowna, B.C., 24 hours earlier.

The aircraft, an Aerospatiale AS350, was reported missing just after 9 p.m. PT on Friday.

In a news release issued late Saturday, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said the missing helicopter was last heard from near Hope, in the B.C. Interior, with only the pilot aboard.

The rescue centre said it dispatched a CC 115 Buffalo search and rescue aircraft and a CH 149 Cormorant rescue helicopter from 19 Wing at Canadian Forces Base Comox on Vancouver Island immediately after receiving word the chopper was missing on Friday night.

The search continued Saturday night and covered two possible routes the pilot might have taken after he left Langley, near Vancouver, the centre said, adding no flight plan had been filed.

The rescue centre said it would be setting up a base of operations in Kelowna on Sunday to direct the search, which would continue until all possible leads had been investigated.

Earlier Saturday, rescue centre spokeswoman Lt. Diane Larose told reporters she didn't know anything "about the nature of the original flight. I do know that it was a 61-year-old male who was an experienced pilot that was flying the helicopter. Our reports currently indicate that he was the only passenger on board."

The pilot's name has not been made public.

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