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UPDATE – Search Underway in BC for Overdue Aircraft

June 10th, 2017 ~ No Comments

Monday June 12, 2017

Kelowna, BC – Search efforts for a missing aircraft continued into a fifth day today as weather improved allowing search crews to comb higher elevations not previously accessible due to cloud.

The missing aircraft, a Piper Warrior with two people on board, departed Lethbridge Alta, on June 8th enroute to Kamloops , BC with a re-fueling stop in Cranbrook, BC. After departing Cranbrook, it was reported overdue when it did not arrive in Kamloops.

Capt. Dennis Power, 19 Wing Public Affairs Officer, says with the improvement in the weather, crews have been able to cover approximately 40 percent of the search area so far. While the entire route of flight is being combed, search efforts are being concentrated around the aircraft’s last know position in the Cranbrook area.

Capt. Power said “We currently have 16 aircraft involved in the search. There are six Canadian Forces Aircraft including three Buffalo, two Cormorant, a Griffon (helicopter) from Cold Lake and ten civilian aircraft crewed by volunteers with CASARA”.

“CASARA is a vital part to the Search and Rescue package. This search is a testament to them and to how well we work together” Powers said.

There are currently approximately 70 Canadian Forces Personnel and another 70 volunteers with CASARA involved in the search.


A photo of the missing aircraft, a Piper Warrior PA28-161 owned by Excel Flight Training in Lethbridge, Alta. - Excel Flight Training, Facebook

A photo of the missing aircraft, a Piper Warrior PA28-161 owned by Excel Flight Training in Lethbridge, Alta. – Excel Flight Training, Facebook

Saturday June 10, 2017

KELOWNA, BC – Search operations are underway in the BC Interior for two people after their single-engine aircraft went missing on Thursday afternoon.

On June 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm the RCMP Southeast District Operational Communications Center received a report that a small aircraft had departed from Cranbrook, BC airport around 3:02 pm and that it did not arrive at its destination in Kamloops, BC.

At that time the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre was notified. It was established that the airplane had initially left from Lethbridge, Alta at 09:35 am. The Aircraft did stop at Cranbrook airport for re-fuelling, which is the last known point of contact with the aircraft and occupants.

The aircraft was piloted by Alex Simons, a 21 year old Kamloops man accompanied by his companion Sydney Robillard, 21 years of age from Lethbridge, Alberta.

Lt. Navy Greg Menzies, public affairs officer with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, says that the aircraft’s intended route of flight was 192 nm in length and that search efforts are currently concentrated in the Cranbrook, BC area. A Search Headquarters is being deployed to Kelowna, BC and will be staffed by search planners to coordinate search operations and any tips that are received from the public.

Menzies says that there are two Search and Rescue Buffalo Aircraft and two Cormorant Helicopters involved in the search as well as additional resources from the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and that they have not detected any Emergency Locator Beacon and there was no distress call received from the missing aircraft.

Search efforts have been hampered by weather in the area which is mountainous and heavily forested according to Menzies.

RCMP Spokesperson Cpl Dan Moskaluk said “The Cranbrook RCMP is asking that anyone with information regarding this matter contact their local police of jurisdiction in efforts to locate the missing persons Alex Simons and Sidney Robillard,”

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