Ashley Bourgeault. Photo credit: Contributed:

Ashley Bourgeault. Photo credit: Contributed:

UPDATE: Search area for missing plane downsized

Weather impacting search for missing single-engine plane en route from Penticton to Edmonton

Update: 4:30 p.m.

The search efforts to find a missing airplane have been focused on an area 10 nautical miles north of Revelstoke.

Catelyn Moores, spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria, said a cell phone signal along with NORAD and civilian radar has enabled the search to be narrowed down.

“We are now looking over an area significantly smaller than where we began,” said Moores.

Today, a Parks Canada helicopter along with a military Cormorant helicopter and Buffalo aircraft were involved in the search efforts, which were impacted by inclement weather.

“Overall, the weather did improve as the day went on but the largest challenge now is fresh snowfall could cover up signs of a plane crash site. Any visual obstructions created by the weather will present problems,” Moores said.

“We will keep flying until there is no more daylight and the search will resume at first light tomorrow morning.”

Original – 11 a.m.

The pilot of a plane that went missing on Saturday afternoon after departing from Penticton Airport has been identified as a resident of the Alberta community of Spruce Grove.

Dominic Neron, 28, left with his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault, of Edmonton, on a single-engine Mooney airplane at 2:30 p.m. from Penticton, en route to Edmonton.

The plane was reported missing at 10:40 p.m., said Katelyn Moores, spokesperson for the Victoria Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

A ping from Neron’s cellphone signal was last picked up 20 kilometres north of Revelstoke.

Search and rescue teams began looking for the white aircraft with burgundy stripes on Saturday night. The search focused on the region between Revelstoke and Rogers Pass, but nothing was found. Bad weather on Sunday hampered efforts, but the search resumed Monday morning.

Dan Rahnell has known Neron for 10 years, telling an Alberta website he’s a journeyman electrician who would be celebrating his 29th birthday next month.

He’d been flying for a few years, Rahnell said in a Facebook message.

“It’s very surreal for family and friends. We are just hoping for a safe return,” he said.

“Dom was always willing to help with anything. He’s very resilient and I hope to hear a happy ending about this scary situation.”

Two Parks Canada helicopters and one chartered helicopter from Arrow Helicopters are currently involved in the search.

Watch for more updates as the search continues.

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@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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