Search for pilot, girlfriend called off 9 days after plane disappears
Published Monday, December 4, 2017 9:37AM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 4, 2017 5:30PM PST
The search for a pilot, passenger and the single-engine aircraft they were travelling in has been called off nine days after their disappearance.
Efforts will end at 3:30 p.m. Monday and the case will be transferred to the RCMP, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria said in a statement.
Crews have been combing the Rocky Mountains for signs of Dominic Neron, 28, and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, 31, since Nov. 25.
The couple took off from Penticton, B.C. in Neron's white and burgundy striped Mooney airplane that afternoon and were expected to land in Edmonton Saturday night. Four hours after their anticipated arrival they were reported missing.
Calling the search for the single-engine plane "exhaustive," the JRCC said aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force and Parks Canada spent approximately 120 hours in the air in challenging weather. Searchers covered more than 22,000 square kilometres in the areas surrounding possible locations.
The JRCC acknowledged support from cellphone providers, NavCanada and NORAD for their assistance in narrowing the search area. Cellphone pings led crews to believe the couple may have been in an area about 32 kilometres northeast of Revelstoke, B.C., but after days of searching they were unable to find further signs of the pilot and passenger.
"Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones during this extremely difficult time," the JRCC statement said.
The centre said the pilot did not issue a mayday call during the flight, nor did he file a flight plan.