It’s now been 10 days since an Alberta couple and their plane vanished en route from Penticton to Edmonton.
While the official air search is now grounded, their families are continuing to looking for the pair in the backcountry east of Revelstoke, B.C., where their plane is believed to be.
On Tuesday, family members of Dominic Neron got a firsthand look at an area near Revelstoke where his plane may have gone down.
Neron – a 28-year-old pilot from Spruce Grove, Alta. – and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, a mother of three, have been missing since Nov. 25.
“It’s been long. It’s hard. It’s hard on the families,” said Ashley Bourgeault’s brother, Richard Bourgeault.
“You can’t just leave them out there rotting. They might be alive still. There is still that hope too. If they are not, I can’t leave my sister out there.”
The couple’s disappearance is especially difficult for Ashley Bourgeault’s children.
“We told them a while ago what happened so they know. The younger ones aren’t really getting it, but the older daughter, she understands and she’s hurt, she’s crying,” Richard said.
“They are all asking, ‘Where is mom?’”
The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre called off its aerial search on Monday. However, family members of the couple were up in the air Tuesday, acting as spotters as they continue the search on their own.
“We didn’t personally see anything,” Sinclair said.
“We felt good about the area that we were in. It was an area close to the highway, so we know if Dominic did come into trouble, he would use the highway to try to get out of the pass.”
The families are able to continue to search from the air themselves thanks to the help of Neron’s friends and their helicopter.
The group is planning to search areas east of Revelstoke where Neron’s cellphone was detected and a witness reported seeing his plane.
They are also hoping new tips from the public can further the search. Sinclair is asking that anyone out in the backcountry keeps an eye out for anything unusual and reports any tips to the Revelstoke RCMP.
– with files from Shelby Thom, Julia Wong, Jules Knox