SATURNA, B.C. - A float plane that crashed off Saturna Island, killing six, has been raised from the ocean floor, allowing investigators to begin their search for answers to what caused the tragedy.
"We have divers in the water trying hook up the wreckage for retrieval," Bill Yearwood, an investigator with the federal Transportation Safety Board, said from the scene Tuesday morning.
The plane was out of the water around noon, and was to be loaded onto a barge.
The right wing was missing and the left wing was intact but damaged. Both pontoons had been sheared off.
"It'll be on a barge and inspected before we head back to Vancouver, then it'll be trucked to Vancouver," Yearwood said.
The single-engine de Havilland Canada Beaver owned by Seair Seaplanes of Richmond, B.C., crashed on takeoff from Lyall Harbour on Sunday afternoon.
Six passengers were trapped in the sinking plane and their bodies were found still in the plane by search divers. The pilot and one female passenger managed to escape.
Seair manager Terry Hiebert said the pilot, who had not yet been interviewed by crash investigators, was recovering in hospital from broken bones and cuts.
He said the pilot had six years experience, three of them with Seair.
Hiebert said authorities have not told the company to make any changes and Seair's operations were "as normal as can be under the circumstances."
"We're still in shock, still dealing with it," he said. "Emotions are up and down."
Seair's float plane fleet includes five of the vintage Beavers, the Canadian-designed and built hinterland workhorse.
The aircraft that crashed had been overhauled recently, said Hiebert.
The crash victims were identified Monday as Vancouver Dr. Kerry Margaret Morrissey, her infant daughter Sarah, Catherine White-Holman of Vancouver, Thomas Gordon Glenn of White Rock, B.C., and Californians Cindy Shafer and Richard Bruce Haskett, who were part-time residents of Saturna Island.