A Cessna 185 float plane carrying a pilot and two passengers crashed just before noon on West Cracroft Island. West Cracroft is among a series of remote islands east of Alert Bay, about 275 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
UPDATE: One of the victims in a plane crash near Potts Lagoon has been identified as Norm Slavik, 58, of White Rock, The Times Colonist reported. UPDATE: The Canadian Press reports that BC Coroners Service has identified the pilot as Kevin Williams, 42, of Lake Country, and the second passenger as 59-year-old Frederick Wiley of Vancouver Island's Merville.
The crash happened on land near Potts Lagoon, a body of water that is home to a community of float homes, though the RCMP had yet to determine where the plane was headed.
Cpl. Darren Lagan of the RCMP said search-and-rescue personnel and RCMP officers from nearby Alert Bay headed to the scene, where they found all three people dead.
"At this point, we are not releasing any details on those two passengers and pilot. Obviously in the very early hours of this, we have yet to make contact with their family and notify them of the tragic loss of their loved ones," said Lagan.
Lagan said a commercial shrimp boat was in the area and helped search-and-rescue officials determine where the plane went down.
"They were an excellent source of information for the rescue co-ordination centre for the rescuers who were heading in," he said.
"I'm not sure what they did or didn't witness, other than helping us with location and giving us an idea of the terrain."
Lagan said the plane took off from Port McNeil, a small coastal community on Vancouver Island about 40 kilometres west of the crash site.
There were clouds with a ceiling of about 300 metres, said Lagan. He said investigators weren't sure if there was any fog in the area at the time, because fog doesn't always show up on radar.
Three investigators from the Transportation Safety Board were headed to the scene, a spokesman for the agency said.
The BC Coroners Service was also en route.
--By James Keller in Vancouver