Weather makes search for small aircraft bound for Kamloops difficult

By The Canadian Press
June 9, 2017 - 8:23pm Updated: June 11, 2017 - 2:41pm

KELOWNA, B.C. — Searchers are continuing to hunt for a small plane and two passengers after the aircraft disappeared en route to Kamloops, B.C.

Canadian military spokesman Lt.-Col. Bryn Elliott says 13 military planes and two Cormorant helicopters were in the air Sunday, conducting sweeps of a vast area between Cranbrook and Kamloops.

A Piper Warrior plane was reported missing Thursday afternoon after it made a refuelling stop in Cranbrook, in southeastern B.C.

Police say the aircraft was headed towards Kamloops and two people are believed to have been on board — pilot Alex Simons, 21, of Kamloops and passenger Sidney Robillard, 24, of Lethbridge, Alta.

Elliott says searchers have very little information about what happened, but they do know that a thunderstorm rolled through Cranbrook shortly after the plane departed and weather may have been a factor in the disappearance.

He says low clouds and heavily wooded terrain are also making the search difficult.


VANCOUVER — Search and rescue crews are looking for a small aircraft that disappeared before reaching its destination of Kamloops, B.C.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says the Piper Warrior was reported missing Thursday afternoon after having left Cranbrook, B.C. on a refuelling stop.

Spokesman Lt. Greg Menzies says the aircraft originally departed from Lethbridge, Alta., and two people are believed to be on board.

Ashcroft RCMP have identified the pilot as Alex Simons, 21, and the passenger as Sidney Robillard, 24, both of Kamloops and say their families are receiving support.

Crews from CFB Comox began the search Thursday until dark and efforts have continued through Friday and are expected to resume Saturday.

Menzies says the search Friday was hampered by changing weather conditions and the rocky terrain covered in trees makes spotting a small aircraft challenging, but crews are still hoping for the best.

“It is quite a large area, it’s very rocky, very mountainous, heavily treed so certainly an aircraft of this size is difficult to find,” he said.

A Cormorant and Buffalo helicopters have been involved in the search along with local search and rescue volunteers, and an additional Buffalo is expected to be sent out when crews continue their work Saturday.

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