Missing Spruce Grove pilot Dominic Neron. Photo credit: Contributed

Spruce Grove man identifed as pilot of missing plane

Dominic Neron was flying with his girlfriend from Penticton to Edmonton

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 on a single-engine Mooney airplane at 2:30 p.m. from Penticton, saying in a Facebook message to his sister Tammy Neron they were flying to Revelstoke to visit his girlfriend’s family.

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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