Manitoba pilot, 71, endures cold and dehydration after plane breakdown

ASHERN, Man. — Rescuers found a 71-year-old pilot suffering from dehydration but in good spirits after mechanical trouble forced him to spend about a day stranded on a Manitoba lake.

RCMP say the Ashern, Man., resident took off in a single-engine plane early Sunday morning for a camp at Sisib Lake, about 350 kilometres north of Winnipeg, but he never arrived.

He was reported overdue that evening and the crew of a Canadian Forces Hercules search plane from Trenton, Ont., spotted a small fire early Monday morning on Pickerel Lake, west of Sisib Lake.

Poor weather prevented search and rescue technicians, known as SAR Techs, from parachuting to the site, so Mounties and other searchers set off by snowmobile for the area about 45 kilometres away

Clear weather later in the morning allowed two technicians to jump to the site and treat the pilot before the snowmobiles and a helicopter arrived hours later.

The pilot, whose name police have not released, said he landed safely on Pickerel Lake but ran into problems when he tried to start his plane to leave.