KAMLOOPS — It's been a tragic last week for friends and family of Alex Simons, the newly licensed pilot who's been missing since Thursday after he and girlfriend Sydney Robillard left the Cranbrook airport en route to Kamloops.
"I was in complete shock when I found out," said Rae, who's been close friends with Simons for many years now. "It was so hard to imagine. He's such an adventurous person, and we were all so proud of him for getting his pilots' license."
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According to friends, Simons has had his pilots' license for six months, earning it through Excel Flight Training in Lethbridge.
Becoming a bush pilot has been something he's wanted to do since Grade 10 at South Kamloops Secondary.
"He was so excited to tell all his friends and he was excited to talk to us about it," said Rae. "We couldn't believe he was going to be able to go up and fly in this airplane. He was so excited. He loved it."
Both Rae and McFarlane are trying to stay positive as search crews try to spot Simons and Robillard, somewhere between Cranbrook, where they refueled, and Kamloops, their final destination.
"You can't think the worst during these times until you hear otherwise," said McFarlene, also a close friend of Simons since high school at South Kam. "When you're in this situation, you have to keep holding onto hope, keep thinking good thoughts. If anybody could survive a predicament like that, it would be Alex."
Rae and McFarlane have a message for their best friend if he's still out there.
"Hold on," said McFarlene. "We're out looking for you. Over 100 people are involved with your search. Just hold on. Your friends, your family, the community's thinking of you."
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