Search suspended for plane lost in waters between Victoria and Port Angeles, Wash.

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VICTORIA — The search for a small plane that issued a mayday distress call before losing contact over the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Washington and Vancouver Island has been suspended.

The United States Coast Guard says in a tweet that American and Canadian searchers covered an area of more than 3,000 square kilometres without finding the lone pilot.

Crews worked through the night Tuesday trying to track the small plane that took off from Ketchikan, Alaska, with one person aboard en route to Port Angeles, Wash.

Officials with the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre say the pilot described his location before contact was lost.

The U.S. Coast Guard says crews used daylight hours to scour the water more closely Wednesday.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel and a search plane from Comox, B.C., assisted in the efforts that were concentrated in waters just off Port Angeles, Wash.

Several U.S. ships and planes were leading the search, and U.S. officials say several Good Samaritans also assisted.

"Suspending search efforts is always an extremely tough decision," said Capt. Nathan Coulter, chief of search and rescue for the U.S. Coast Guard's 13th District in a release.

"A huge thanks to the many women and men from the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and good Samaritans who assisted in planning and carrying out this search effort.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the pilot involved."

Coulter said before the single-engine Cessna 170A went down, the pilot described land formations he could see and ships that were in the area.

He said the Coast Guard built a search area based on that information.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press