A Haines Junction-based aerial tour company was the first to find a missing plane from its own fleet near Bear River, just northwest of Heart Lake, said Maj. Mitch Leenders, head of joint rescue co-ordination in Victoria.
Both passengers were in good condition, said Leenders.
The Sifton Air twin-engine aircraft was declared missing on Thursday evening. Joint rescue co-ordination is in charge of marine and air rescue missions in the Yukon, British Columbia and the Pacific coast.
Rescue teams and volunteers were dispatched to help in the search.
Four volunteers from Whitehorse’s Civil Air Search and Rescue Association were put on standby at 7:15 a.m. Friday, said training co-ordinator Jasna Todd.
The group then took off in a Twin Otter aircraft around 9 a.m., and spent virtually the entire day in the air.
“It was a very long day for them,” said Todd. “They were returning to Whitehorse after 9 p.m. …They went to refuel in Mayo. While turning home, they were directed back to the search.”
Another Sifton plane spotted the two passengers on Friday evening while surveying some small fields in the region to be used as landing areas, said Leenders.
The first plane had done a precautionary landing due to approaching bad weather, he said.
Sifton Air could not be reached for comment.