Search resumes for helicopter carrying missing Quebec businessman, teenage son

MONTREAL — The search for a missing well-known businessman and his teenage son who failed to return from a northern Quebec fishing trip this week extended into a third day Saturday without any sign of the pair.

Stephane Roy, founder and president of a company that sells greenhouse tomatoes, strawberries and cucumbers under the Savoura name, and his 14-year-old son didn’t return as planned aboard his Robinson R44 helicopter on Wednesday afternoon.

Canadian Forces planes and helicopters began searching for the missing pair on Thursday, looking at possible routes Roy might have taken from Lac De la Bidiere to Ste-Sophie.

On Saturday, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton said Griffon helicopters, Hercules planes, and several other helicopters and planes joined other aircraft from two specialized air search and rescue support organizations.

“The total area we’re searching right now is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. That being said, the aircraft are flying along routes we believe the missing R44 may have taken,” said Capt. Trevor Reid. “That’s narrowing down the search area.”

Four people — Roy and his 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.

Roy was described as an experienced pilot. The travel time between Lac De La Bidiere and Ste-Sophie, the small Laurentians community where Roy lives and his company is based, was about 90 minutes.

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

The area is rocky, heavily forested and dotted with several lakes.

Roy is founder of Les Serres Sagami Inc., which sells products under the Sagami and popular Savoura brands and is considered a leader in the greenhouse tomato business.

His company has created a Facebook page dedicated to the search and rescue operation calling on hunters, fishermen and vacationers descending on the area to keep an eye out for him.

Andre Michaud, a friend of Roy’s and president of Agro Quebec, which handles the company’s external communications, said everyone was positive despite there being little new to report on Saturday.

“There are more people out today, but the plan remains the same,” Michaud said of bringing the pair home safe and sound.

The Canadian Press

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