Best friend of fallen EPS officer completes airborne tribute
A pair of aviators in Nova Scotia offered a high-altitude tribute Tuesday to the Edmonton Police Service constables who were killed in the line of duty.
Dimitri Neonakis and Brodie Sampson flew a ribbon flight path over Travis Jordan's hometown of Coldbrook, N.S., in honour of him and his partner Brett Ryan, who were both shot and killed last week while responding to a domestic dispute.
Sampson is a former commercial airline pilot. He grew up with Jordan and is one of his best friends. Neonakis is the father of a Vancouver police officer.
The pilots took off out of Halifax and completed the air tribute in a Cirrus aircraft. It was a sentimental experience for Sampson, given how he would often fly with Jordan, who would take him on EPS ride-alongs.
"We were there to pay our respects and bring awareness to the thin blue line that is the job of being a police officer and ultimately how dangerous it can be," Sampson said.
"Travis and Brett both paid the ultimate price protecting us," he added. "They're gone so we can still be here."
Brodie Sampson on a ride-along with Const. Travis Jordan (Supplied).
In an interview with CTV News Edmonton, Sampson explained how Neonakis often completes sky paintings to raise awareness of causes.
"I probably have 6,000 flight hours, but I've never done this before," Sampson said. "Doing the ribbon is actually pretty complex to do in an airplane. You constantly have to slow the airplane down to make these turns."
"I was able to watch and learn."
The pair of pilots after finishing the airborne tribute (Supplied).
Sampson will fly to Edmonton this weekend to attend a regimental funeral for Jordan and Ryan.
"I feel kind of selfish even feeling bad knowing what Travis' wife and immediate family are going through," Sampson said. "It's such a huge loss."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Erin Isfeld
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