The search for a missing aircraft that last took off from Cranbrook en route to Kamloops has been reduced, according to a statement from the military on Monday, June 19.

Military scaling down search for missing aircraft

Two-seater Piper Warrior aircraft reported missing on June 8 after flying out from Cranbrook.

The military is scaling down search operations for a two-seater Piper Warrior aircraft that went missing last week while flying from Cranbrook to Kamloops.

Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Victoria Search and Rescue Region, made the announcement in a statement released on Monday evening.

“The families of the individuals have been informed and our thoughts are with them during this extremely difficult time,” he said.

The military also said that no further search activity is planned unless new evidence indicates a strong likelihood of locating survivors.

The aircraft, which was piloted by Alex Simons and also carried Sydney Robillard, last took off from the Canadian Rockies International Airport on Thursday, June 8th, but never arrived at its destination in the Okanagan.

That touched off a search effort the next day with military aircraft from the 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of CFB Comox on Vancouver Island, and supported by civilian volunteers with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA).

Since then, the military and volunteers have covered 37,513 square kilometres over the last 12 days while looking for the missing aircraft and the two occupants. The military says that 18 aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force were utilized while flying for 576 hours.

The missing aircraft was equipped with an electronic locating device but no viable signals were detected during the search.

The search included 70 RCAF personnel who were being supported by 137 volunteers from CASARA, which had an average of 10 aircraft up in the skies every day during the search period.

Other agencies involved included Industry Canada, Transport Canada, NAVCan, RCMP, CBSA, NORAD, EMBC, Kelowna International Airport, Kelowna Flying Club, Edmonton Flight Services, Kamloops Flight Services and ground search and rescue teams from Cranbrook and Revelstoke.