MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A report of an aircraft distress call that prompted officials to close part of the Trans-Canada Highway in Alberta for a possible emergency landing has turned out to be false.

Medicine Hat police say a radio operator reported hearing a plane calling for help Sunday night in the region.

As a precaution police closed part of the highway from about 7:30 p.m. until 8:50 p.m. for use as a makeshift landing strip.

But authorities could not make contact with any pilot and there was no reports of a missing plane.

The Royal Canadian Air Force scrambled a CC-130 Hercules rescue aircraft out of Winnipeg, but later determined the distress call was false.

Capt. Wright Eruebi, a military spokesman, says search and rescue officials always investigate such calls and assume that lives are in danger.


The Canadian Press