Small plane that went missing in late 2017 located near Revelstoke

A small airplane that went missing with two persons on board in November, 2017 has been located in the Revelstoke area.

The pair were travelling in this airplane when they went missing. Photo: submitted

A small airplane that went missing in late November 2017 was discovered by chance by a passing BC Ambulance Service helicopter near Revelstoke on Sept. 10, 2018.

November, 2017: Members of the families of Dominic Neron and Ashley Bourgeault join friends and Revelstoke residents after arriving here to keep the search for the missing pair going. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Dominic Neron, 28, was flying with partner and passenger Ashley Bourgeault from Penticton to Edmonton, Alberta on Nov. 25 when their white and burgundy Mooney M20D airplane disappeared.

Land-based tracking systems charted the airplane’s last movements to near the Revelstoke area, where the signal was lost.

This set of a large search in the Revelstoke area that lasted for nine days. Search helicopters and airplanes coordinated by the provincial Joint Rescue Coordination Centre scoured the Revelstoke area, including north on Lake Revelstoke and the many valleys leading off the Trans-Canada Highway towards Rogers Pass. The search was ended with no sign of the missing plane.

On Sept. 10, a BC Ambulance Service helicopter crew from Kamloops was returning from an incident near Field, B.C., flying over Glacier National Park. The crew reported seeing a downed plane with the same white and burgundy colouring, and they were able to observe the tail marker from the plan, C-FESN, the same as the missing Mooney M20D small aircraft.

In a statement, Revelstoke RCMP said the site of the plane crash is being accessed to conduct the investigation in partnership with Parks Canada.

RCMP E Division spokesperson Cst. Spencer Lainchbury said that the plane was located in Glacier National Park, and that the exact location of the downed plane is not being released to aid with control of the location while the recovery effort continues.

Lainchbury said that search personnel had not yet been able to reach the location on foot, and that there was no confirmation on locating the pilot and passenger yet.

November, 2017: The yellow lines represent flight paths search aircraft have taken in their effort to find the missing plane. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

In a statement, Revelstoke RCMP thanked the BCAS helcopter crew: “The RCMP wishes to thank the helicopter pilots and crew of the BC Ambulance Service for their watchful eyes in locating this plane and assisting to bring closure to the two families.”

In addition to the extensive helicopter search in November, family members of the missing persons travelled to Revelstoke in November, 2017, and led a volunteer ground search that involved snowmobiles, backcountry skiers, drones and more. The ground search was halted on December 17 after winter snow blanketed the area.

Tammy Neron, sister of missing pilot Dominic Neron, travelled to Revelstoke with family and friends to lead a volunteer search in November and December of 2017. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Tammy Neron, sister of pilot Dominic Neron, was the public face to the family-led volunteer search in Revelstoke in late November and early December. In a statement to her Facebook page on Sept. 11, she thanked searchers for their efforts to locate their family members. “Cannot thank B.C. Ambulance enough, as they were flying through Rogers Pass to Golden yesterday Sept, 10 they spotted it. My birthday wish yesterday came true!!!,” Neron wrote. “RCMP, SAR, BC Transport and the coroners are going out today. Our families cannot thank each and every one of you enough for embracing us during what’s been the hardest 10 months of our lives!”

The families of the missing persons held a memorial service for the missing pilot and passenger earlier in 2018.