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Questions remain about teen pilot’s death

Aug. 8, 2013, Kamloops, B.C. - A missing teen pilot was found dead Wednesday, more than a day after his plane was reported overdue on a short training flight from the airport in Kamloops, B.C.


August 8, 2013
By The Canadian Press

Searchers spotted the wreckage at 6:30 p.m., about 55 kilometres west of Kamloops in the Cache Creek hills.

The student pilot, Lorne Perreault, 16, was last heard from around mid-morning on Tuesday, shortly after take off from the Kamloops airport.

He was found by search and rescue personnel, who were lowered to the crash site by a Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopter and the body was transported back to the Kamloops Airport where a coroner pronounced Perreault dead.

Throughout Wednesday, two Cormorant helicopters and two Buffalo aircraft based out of Kamloops, had focused on an area about 10 kilometres north of the westernmost side of Kamloops Lake. Second Lt. Erin Edwards, from Victoria's Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre,
said aircraft focused on the pilot's practice area.

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An official with TylAir Aviation, where Perreault was training for his private pilot's licence, said the teen was restricted to an exercise area around the airport and was to go no farther than 20 kilometres from Fulton Field.

"From what I understand, tower had communication with him but lost communication with him at one point during the flight,'' said David Cruz. "We don't really know at this point in time what would have caused a breakdown in communication.''

Perreault had about 94 hours of flight time, 60 of which Cruz said were completed before the youth came to TylAir.

He confirmed Perreault was old enough to have obtained his private pilot's licence and had enough flight time, though TylAir would not release information about his licensing.

The company said the teen was directed by an instructor and the plane had about four to five hours of fuel on board.

The single engine Cessna 172 had also just completed a mandatory full maintenance check on July 12.

"I wouldn't necessarily suggest that mechanical issues are related here,'' said Cruz.

A cause of the crash remains under investigation.