Soldiers, civilians, police keep search going for helicopter pilot father and son
The search for Stephane Roy, the president of Savoura who went missing along with his son while piloting a helicopter in the Laurentians on Wednesday, continued on Sunday.
Rescue teams from the Canadian Armed Forces, the Surete du Quebec and civilian volunteers scoured thousands of kilometres of forested territory during the search.
Family friend Andre Michaud said the ordeal has taken a toll on those who know the pair.
“It’s very difficult but we can’t stop at this moment,” he said. “We need to put all the energy to find Stephane and his son. We don’t have a choice.”
Roy was piloting an R44 helicopter with his 14-year-old son as a passenger. They left from an area near Lac-de-la-Bidiere on Wednesday afternoon and haven’t been heard from since.
The rescue teams have focused their search on the area between Lac-de-la-Bidiere and Ste-Sophie.
“Working closely with the Roy family we managed to narrow down certain scenarios that allowed us to reduce the search area, which was initially 20,000 square kilometres, to about 44 per cent of that,” said Canadian Armed Forces spokesperson Christian Labbe.
Labbe said the teams are looking for any clues that could indicate the Roys’ location.
“Really anything that’s out of place,” he said. “Broken tree, burned down tree, any metal, something that’s a different colour. We’ve got keenly trained spotters and air crews that are experts at their job so they know what to look for.”
The SQ said they’ve received around 50 calls with information but none that have panned out yet.
“It’s a search that’s evolving,” said SQ spokesperson Helene Nepton. “We adapt to the information we receive.”
Michaud said at least 15 helicopters are being used in the search, with civilian pilots using Ste-Sophie as an unofficial base.
“People that we don’t know are writing on (Facebook) messenger saying ‘I got a helicopter, can I do something for Stephane and his son,’ and we say ‘Yes, of course.’”