Authorities say the pilot of a small plane that crashed in Algonquin Provincial Park grew disoriented and ran out of fuel before he could find a safe place to land.

Capt. Dave Bowes of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., says the pilot and his passenger -- both men in their 20s -- were killed in the crash.

A military spokesman earlier said the pilot of the Cessna 150 had "declared an airborne emergency" on Tuesday evening.

Capt. Alexandre Cadieux said regional air traffic controllers then lost contact with the aircraft south of the park in the Haliburton area east of Bracebridge.

He said the plane was found after a Hercules aircraft sent to the area with a Griffin helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Trenton picked up an emergency signal early Wednesday.

Officials said the plane had left Buttonville Airport northeast of Toronto and the pilot had intended to return there.

"He was airborne and lost near Bancroft. Initially, he thought he was near Simcoe, but he was lost and low on fuel," Bowes said.

"They were disoriented, flying at night with -- I would expect -- a little amount of flight experience."

The company that owns the plane, Fly Block Time, said the aircraft was "fully serviceable and airworthy" and equipped for night flight.

Fully fuelled, the plane could fly for about 4.5 hours, the company said in a statement.