Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fruitless, costly search by several police departments, military: Mystery plane confirmed over Lake of Two Mountains

MONTREAL - There was in fact a plane flying very low over the Lake of Two Mountains Thursday night, despite a costly, all-out search for the aircraft that turned up empty, police said Friday.

"Canadian Forces Base Trenton (in Trenton, Ont.) confirmed to us that they did locate a small low-flying plane flying over the lake" about 6 p.m., Lake of Two Mountain police Constable Christopher Harding said. The base has air traffic control equipment.

Because there are fewer restrictions on small planes the aircraft must have landed without any record, so police do not know more about the plane or its pilot.

Search teams from three police departments, an ambulance and a helicopter from the Canadian Forces were dispatched to the area near Pointe Calumet, west of Montreal, after two calls from residents. One resident said he saw a low-flying plane over the lake, Harding said. Another resident saw a "ball of fire" approaching the lake. Police never located the second caller, he added.

It's hard to say how much the search cost, Harding added. But once triggered the search had to be concluded, he said. They conducted a thorough search of the area and found no trace of the plane. Police also called local airports and there was no report of a missing plane.

"It's safe to say that if we do find the pilot we will have a few questions for that person," Harding said. Small planes can fly low but "probably not so low as to make people on the ground think that they are in trouble" and about to crash.

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