Monday, January 22, 2018

Mooney M20D Master, C-FESN

A plane from Alberta carrying an Edmonton-area couple — that’s been missing for nearly a year — was located on Monday afternoon in the rugged wilderness of B.C.’s southern interior.

RCMP said the plane was found on Monday, when a B.C. Ambulance Service helicopter crew spotted the wreckage near Revelstoke.

The plane, missing since November 2017, matched the description of the missing white-and-burgundy plane, a Mooney M20D, and also had the matching tail marker, C-FESN.

RCMP said the wreckage was located east of Revelstoke in Glacier National Park. The BCAS helicopter was returning to Kamloops from Field when it spotted the aircraft.

“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,” said a Tuesday news release.

On social media, Tammy Neron said “We got word this morning the plane has been found! 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!!!

“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 missing, four-passenger plane left Penticton, B.C., on Nov. 25, 2017, and was bound for Edmonton. On board were Dominic Neron, 28, from Spruce Grove, Alta., and his girlfriend Ashley Bourgeault — a 31-year-old mother of three — from Edmonton.

In late November, the pair had flown to Penticton to visit family and do some Christmas shopping. Their plane disappeared near Revelstoke on the way home.

A nine-day search took place, but neither the plane nor the occupants were found.

There’s no word on if Neron and Bourgeault were found in the crashed plane. RCMP said currently, the site of the plane crash is being accessed to conduct the investigation in partnership with the BC Coroners Service.

On Tuesday, Revelstoke RCMP said the missing persons-and-plane case has remained open since last year, and that police have frequently deployed search resources while also working and meeting with the families of Neron and Bourgeault.

Police noted that the families have been very active in the area, using drones, seeking tips from the public and searching various areas.

Resources involved in investigation include the RCMP Integrated Forensic Identification Services, Revelstoke Search and Rescue, Transportation Canada, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre and the B.C. Coroners Service.

The family of a missing woman who was last seen taking off in a single engine plane from Penticton are hopeful that an image taken from a drone may help locate her.

Dominic Neron, 28, Ashley Bourgeault, 31, were expected to land in Edmonton on November 25, but vanished.

Victoria's Joint Rescue Coordination Centre scoured the surrounding Revelstoke area for the white-and-burgundy Mooney aircraft but were unable to find anything.

The JRCC suspended their search on December 4, but the family acquired permits to have drones search the area where Neron’s cell phone last pinged.

Thousands of images were taken during the search and one particular photograph from December 11 stood out to the family.

“We’ve been looking and looking and something just popped out to us,” said Carol Barnes, Bourgeault’s cousin.

The family believes the word “help” or “here” was written in the snow and that there is visible plane wreckage just to the left of the words in the photo.

“We are not sure but… there is something that definitely looks like a propeller and it looks like wreckage under the tree,” Barnes said.

The coordinates of the image are taken from 51°15'21.3"N 117°36’47.9"W and they believe the plane could be on Cougar Mountain.

“It does fall within the path,” Barnes said. “We are just hopeful this is where they are and it is the end of it.”

Bourgeault has three children who were staying with her sister Samantha McClellan when the two vanished.

McClellan said her sister had said the weather was rough on the way down in Penticton and if they were in that kind of situation again they would be stopping.

“It’s nice to have a bit of hope,” she said. “The kids need closure.”

A GoFundMe account was created to fund ongoing search efforts.

Barnes said RCMP, the JRCC and Revelstoke Search and Rescue crews are on standby, as weather has prevented further searching. 

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