Francois Legault, right, chats with Biologico organic tomato greenhouse owner Stephane Roy during an election campaign stop in Saint-Sophie, Que., Thursday, August 16, 2012. Search and rescue teams will continue their search today for Quebec businessman Roy and his teenage son who’ve been missing since mid-week after failing to return from a fishing trip in northern Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Search continues for prominent businessman, son after helicopter goes missing in Quebec

Stephane Roy is founder and president of Sagami Inc.

A prominent Quebec businessman known for his exploits in the greenhouse tomato industry and his teenage son remained missing Friday after the helicopter they were travelling in failed to return from a fishing trip.

Stephane Roy is founder and president of Sagami Inc., which sells greenhouse tomatoes and strawberries under the Sagami and Savoura brands.

His company said in a statement its officials are doing everything they can to ensure Roy and his son are found safe and sound.

Quebec provincial police said relatives reported them missing on Thursday morning and that the pair were last seen preparing to leave the cabin at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Parent district of La Tuque, Que., more than 400 kilometres north of Montreal.

On Friday, Canadian Forces planes and helicopters continued to search a vast area, examining possible routes the missing helicopter may have taken between Lac De La Bidiere and Ste-Sophie, the Laurentians community about 90 minutes away where Roy lives.

A Hercules plane and three Griffon helicopters were being used in the search alongside civilian search and rescue organizations, Capt. Trevor Reid said from Trenton, Ont.

Seach teams had been scrambled Thursday, but were hampered by heavy thunderstorms.

“We’re searching an area that’s approximately 20,000 square kilometres,” Reid said. “The terrain is challenging — it’s heavily forested, rocky, with several lakes in the area as well.”

Roy was described as an experienced pilot with numerous flight hours aboard the craft in question, a Robinson R44 helicopter.

“It was his own helicopter, an aircraft in excellent condition, Mr. Roy is someone who is very structured, who takes care of his equipment,” said Andre Michaud, a friend of Roy’s and president of Agro Quebec.

Four people — Roy and son in the helicopter and two others in a seaplane — travelled to the chalet for a few days. The plane returned as scheduled but the helicopter did not.

A Facebook page was created Friday specifically geared towards gathering information about Roy and his son, as many would be heading to the region this weekend.

Michaud said it has been difficult time for the company, but hailed the mobilization of local teams that were leaving no stone unturned to find the pair.

“All we have is a trajectory,” Michaud said. “But it’s Point A to Point B, so with about 20 aircraft in the air, we think we’ll be able to at least find some clues.”

Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Helene Nepton said police have set up a command post and are ready to move once the craft is found. The Canadian Forces say there’s no time frame for how long such an operation can last.

“We take these searches hour by hour, we don’t look too far to the future or speculate on what might happen,” Reid said. “Our focus is the operation at hand.”

Michaud described Roy as a North American model in the industry. The privately held company operates eight production facilities in Quebec and is committed sustainable agriculture.

The entrepreneur was described as the “undisputed king of greenhouse tomato production in Quebec” in a 2015 feature in the Montreal Gazette newspaper.

“He is an entrepreneur in its purest form,” Michaud said of Roy. “An entrepreneur who is focused on sustainable development, the environment, and organic growing.”

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges cadet program on gendered policy

He wants the policy to be more gender inclusive

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

In photos: Uptown Askew’s Family Day

The Uptown Askew’s Family Day event was filled with classic cars, face… Continue reading

Word on the street: Has the wet July weather put a damper on your summer any?

Due to the wetter-than-usual July weather, the Observer asked: Has the wet… Continue reading

CSRD to support cannabis growth in agricultural zones

Regional district revision brings policy in line with Agricultural Land Commission

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Donkeys await your hugs and scritches at anniversary event

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge invites public to help celebrate 20 years of care.

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Most Read