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No survivors found in Lake Erie plane crash

Passengers were returning home from hunting trip

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay searches Lake Erie near the crash site.
The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay searches Lake Erie near the crash site.

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Disasters and Accidents
Lake Erie

(CNN) -- Canadian authorities called off efforts Sunday to find survivors of a commuter plane that crashed into the icy waters of Lake Erie, leaving 10 people presumed dead, eight of whom were men returning from a hunting trip.

The single-engine Cessna 208 Caravan was carrying the hunters back to Windsor, Ontario, from a trip to Pelee Island, about 20 miles north of Sandusky, Ohio, when it crashed about 4:40 p.m. Saturday. Don Enns, a senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said a Canadian team would investigate the cause of the crash.

"We don't have any information that we can relate to you as of yet as to what the cause or the contributing factors are," Enns said.

The victims included the hunters, all of whom were from towns in Ontario, the plane's pilot and a woman from Los Angeles, California, identified as a friend of the pilot. Authorities called off the search for survivors about 1 p.m. Sunday, an Ontario provincial police spokesman said.

"No survivors were found at the site, and it is now believed that all 10 people on board the plane are deceased," the agency said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

The pilot of the Georgian Express plane, a regularly scheduled commuter flight, issued a distress call shortly after takeoff en route to Windsor. A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, the Neah Bay, reached the wreckage, about a half-kilometer west of the island, late Saturday.

The plane was in about 7.5 meters (24 feet) of water. A Canadian icebreaker was en route to the site to aid in the recovery, Enns said.

Freezing rain was falling Saturday night in Leamington, the nearest Canadian town.

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