Family of missing Alberta pilot pleads for details that could extend search
The family of an Alberta man who hasn’t been seen since his plane went missing last weekend, is making a public plea for information about a survival kit that they believe he had on the plane.
Dominic Neron, 28, of Spruce Grove, Alta., and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, a mother of three, took off from Penticton Regional Airport last Saturday at 2:30 p.m. They were reported overdue later that night when they failed to arrive in Edmonton.
Dominic’s sister Tammy, his brother Don Sinclair and sister-in-law Kate Sinclair, left Edmonton Saturday morning for Revelstoke to help with the search.
The family believes Dominic bought a survival kit in the Edmonton area and are seeking any information they can about its contents.
“We are aware Dominic does have a survival kit, which is huge,” Tammy said.
“This gives us so much hope and that is why we are so confident that he is alive. He’s just waiting to be rescued.”
The family wants to speak with anyone who may have sold the kit to Dominic.
“It’s really important to know what’s in the kit because something like a tent or a tarp and knowing the colour will keep the search going. If anyone has any information about where he got the kit from or what kit he has or if they saw one in his possession, definitely let us know,” Kate said.
Tammy said those details could make all the difference in the search.
“We need to know who sold Dominic this survival kit to know exactly the contents in it. These essential things like a tarp and a tent are going to be something that will help search and rescue that much more,” she said.
Kate said Dominic had previously flown the plane with Ashley’s children and the family is confident he would ensure a kit would be on-board.
“Knowing that he had a survival kit for the four people, to include the kids if need be, gives us hope that they would have enough items in that kit to keep them going for a few weeks,” Kate said.
The plane vanished near Revelstoke, B.C., which is where searchers are concentrating their efforts.
Navy Lt. Melissa Kia of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, said a Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo aircraft were assisting with the search Saturday.
“Search efforts throughout the week have been hampered by low ceilings and relatively inclement weather into the mountain passes, and [Saturday] is no different,” she said.
“The ceiling is a little bit higher, which has offered us a little bit more visibility up into higher elevations. However, the passes are quite active with low cloud and ceilings [that] can drop at any point.”
Family search efforts
Kia said she cannot speculate on when search efforts might be reduced, but family members told Global News they have been informed the search will wind down soon, depending on the weather.
“We basically know that if they’re going to end this, we need to keep it going,” Tammy said.
“We know they are still alive. We are not giving up.”
Tammy, her brother and her sister-in-law, plan to spend the next few days in Revelstoke doing whatever they can to keep the missing plane top of mind.
“Search and rescue [Saturday], they took up Ashley’s brother in the helicopter. [Sunday], they will be taking one of us up,” Tammy said.
“We will be canvassing the town with missing posters – we just printed off a bunch – and reaching out to any pilots in the area – any Helijets – basically anyone that can be on the lookout for Dominic and Ashley and their plane.”
“We’re going to be searching the highways and logging roads and any other areas that we can get to ourselves,” Kate said.
An emotional rollercoaster
Family members said they are willing to spend as much time as needed to help with the search.
“We have no doubt in our minds he will be found. We will not stop searching,” Tammy said.
“It’s like an emotional rollercoaster. I am so hopeful in the days and at nighttime, I send them so much love and strength to get through this and that’s what keeps me going.”
The family wants anyone who may have information to speak out.
“If anyone in between Penticton and Golden last Saturday… saw something, if they heard something… someone in the area might have even smelt [aviation fuel], we need them to come forward because those details, that will continue the search. As information stops coming in, that’s when they don’t look anymore,” Kate said.
Tammy said the family is confident that they will find the pair.
“If it was your brother, your son or dad or anybody that you love, you would never stop searching until you find them.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.