Members of the Campbell River Search and Rescue squad work to extract debris from the crash of a Cessna float plane at Potts Lagoon.

Three dead in Cessna crash near Alert Bay

WEST CRACROFT ISLAND-Pilot, two passengers killed when flight from Port McNeill goes down on island in Potts Lagoon.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identities of the three men killed when the float plane in which they were flying crashed at Potts Lagoon, on West Cracroft Island, last Thursday.

Kevin Roger Williams, aged 42, from Lake Country in the Okanagan, was the pilot of the Air Cab Cessna 185 floatplane which crashed into an island in the middle of Potts Lagoon, where it was expected to land, at about 11:45 a.m. on Oct. 24.

The two passengers on the plane were Frederick Gerald Cecil Wiley, aged 40, of Merville on Vancouver Island, and Norman Slavik, aged 59, of Surrey. The two had chartered the plane to take them from Port McNeill to a logging operation on West Cracroft Island, a small island on the east side of Robson Bight east of Alert Bay.

The plane struck a heavily wooded embankment about 20 yards upslope from Potts Lagoon, located on the south side of Clio Channel on West Cracroft Island.

Several people witnessed the crash and rushed to the scene, but there was nothing they could do as all three men died on impact.

Campbell River Search and Rescue were called to help remove the remains from densely wooded area near Potts Lagoon off Port McNeill.

“These types of calls are sadly becoming more frequent for our group,” search manager Grant Cromer said in a news release. “We have attended numerous plane crashes in the last few years and dealing with the terrain and the logistics of recovering subjects is the hardest part. This last crash was in a very remote area and required specialized skills to perform a safe recovery.”

Alert Bay RCMP and rescue crews from 442 Squadron in Comox also attended the crash site in the hours immediately following the incident Thursday. The Transportation Safety Board, BC Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC continue to investigate the deaths.

With files from Paul Rudan, Black Press.