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CBC News: Witness Reports Suggest Small Aircraft Crashed

From CBC News Canada - July 28, 2009

Authorities said Tuesday afternoon that they had called off their search of the Ottawa River following an overnight sighting of unusual, bright lights near the Deschenes Rapids.

According to an Ottawa Police Service media release, Ottawa and Gatineau police, fire services, paramedics and Canadian Forces Base Trenton's search and rescue team called off their search Tuesday afternoon.

Const. Alain Boucher said Ottawa police received several reports that lights were seen travelling at high speeds on the Ottawa River, which could indicate that an aircraft crashed near the rapids at the Britannia Yacht Club about 10 p.m. on Monday.

Boucher said there were also reports that some witnesses heard a loud bang shortly after seeing the lights.

Insp. Paul Gallant, an Ottawa police spokesperson, said the recovery effort had turned up a large object, but police later said that the object didn't appear to be a missing plane.

Some reports indicated the lights appeared to be a plane, he said. After contacting several airports in the area, police have no reports of a missing plane or any missing pilot, he said.

There has also been no sign of wreckage in the area, Boucher added.

The rapids were not searched overnight due to safety concerns, but police said Tuesday afternoon that they were sending a camera 10 metres under water to investigate the object.

The National Defence co-ordinator had sent out a plane to look in the area, Boucher said. A military helicopter was also in the area, and search and rescue teams were on site.

Officials said the search had ended, but that if a report of a missing plane is filed, they could resume their recovery mission.