Highway 1 eastbound is closed between 264 Avenue and Mt. Lehman this morning as authorities investigate the fatal crash of an ultralight aircraft last night.
After more than four hours of searching, emergency crews located the ultralight that had been missing since about 4:30 p.m. , and police have confirmed that the pilot is dead.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the wreckage was located at about 9 p.m. in an area south of Highway 1 near Ross Road.
“Tragically, the pilot was deceased, and early indications are that he (died on impact),” MacDonald said.
Crews were initially called out to the area of Mt. Lehman and Downes roads after the control tower at Abbotsford Airport lost contact with the pilot and a beacon was sending a signal from the northwest area of the city.
Abbotsford Police, two search and rescue teams, and a Cormorant helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Comox were involved in the search. Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service and BC Ambulance were also on the scene.
MacDonald said challenges facing the teams included darkness, heavy rain and forested terrain.
The aircraft had departed from Abbotsford and was en route to Maple Ridge.
The cause of the crash is not known at this time, and police are not releasing the name of the pilot.
The highway is heavily backed up, as are alternate routes and side roads, as drivers attempt to find alternate routes.
The westbound lanes have reopened, but the eastbound lanes will remained closed until about noon, due to damaged power lines.