New information has family resuming search for missing couple and downed plane
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019 4:10PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 1, 2019 6:06PM MDT
A private search for the bodies of a Lethbridge woman and a Kamloops man is set to begin after new details emerged regarding their flight path after departing Cranbrook in 2017.
Pilot Alex Simons and his passenger Sydney Robillard, both in their early 20s, departed Robillard’s hometown of Lethbridge in a rented four-seater Piper Warrior PA28 on the morning of Thursday, June 8, 2017. The couple made a brief stop in Cranbrook that afternoon to refuel before taking off towards their final destination of Kamloops, B.C. where Simons lived.
The aircraft never arrived in Kamloops and all contact with the plane ceased.
Initial aerial and ground searches of the area for the aircraft conducted by more than 200 people including search-and-rescue crews and members of the military went on for 12 days but proved unfruitful as the region is mountainous and heavily treed.
The search is set to resume nearly two years after the disappearance as details regarding a sighting of the plane on that fateful day surfaced.
“(Tuesday) I received a phone call from an eyewitness from the search day,” Natalie Lindgren, a relative of Simons, told CTV. “It is a very credible eyewitness. It is an airline pilot that lives in Kimberley and had actually seen Alex’s plane fly over his property.”
Given the location of the pilot’s property, aviation experts have identified the Lost Dog Valley, north of Kimberley, as a possible location where the aircraft went down.
Family members are scheduled to visit the area on Wednesday, May 8 and plan to conduct a ground search of the region for any sign of the plane. The family has set aside several days for the search and are asking for volunteers with ATVs or experience operating drones to support the effort. Several pilots are also slated to search the are from above.
Anyone who is willing to help their search is asked to contact Natalie Lindgren by email or (403) 315-9172 .
Lindgren says the families continue to search for closure and would be grateful for any additional tips.
“We cannot rest because there’s still so many unanswered questions,” said Lindgren. “You can’t walk away from when your child doesn’t come home. You can’t walk away from that.”
“You go to the mountains and you look out there and you know that they’re there. What we feel is somebody out there knows something and we’ve always believed that.”