Rescue crews narrow search area for missing Edmonton-bound plane
The search for an Edmonton-bound flight from Penticton, B.C. resumed Monday, with crews narrowing their search - more than a day after the single-engine plane went missing.
The plane took off from Penticton at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC Victoria) received an alert about eight hours later, after a signal from the pilot’s cellphone was picked up by a cell tower about 30 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke, B.C.
Officials told CTV News the pilot did not issue a mayday call.
CTV News has learned the pilot’s name is Dominic Neron, a 28-year-old journeyman electrician from Spruce Grove, his girlfriend has been identified as Ashley Bourgeault, 31.
On Sunday, crews were sent out to search the mountains between Revelstoke, B.C. and Rogers Pass, B.C. for the burgundy, single-engine aircraft.
“There were two Parks Canada helicopters, a Cormorant helicopter from Canadian Forces Base Comox, which was originally unable to reach the area because of weather conditions, was able to assist later in the day,” Katelyn Moores with JRCC Victoria said Sunday.
Weather conditions in the area hampered the search, officials said.
The search was called off at sunset Sunday, and crews planned to continue their search Monday morning – while Sunday’s search centred on the location of the cellphone ping, crews have since narrowed their search to a smaller area north of Revelstoke.
It is an area Eldon Gjesdal, a pilot who sold Neron’s plane to him in the spring, is challenging to navigate.
“It’s just very rugged, the valleys are very closed in and if it’s the Rogers Pass in the Revelstoke area, its rough terrain,” Gjesdal said.
Neron bought his 1963 Mooney from Gjezdal after flying for about two years, in the hopes of eventually getting his commercial licence.
“One of the things that makes our search so much harder, if there’s not an active target, being able to light a fire or signal us,” Capt. Dave Mansi said.
“It’s a white aircraft with a brown stripe; snow will not help our opportunity to visually detect the target.”
With files from Shanelle Kaul