Francois Legault, right, chats with Biologico organic tomato greenhouse owner Stephane Roy during an election campaign stop in Saint-Sophie, Que., Thursday, August 16, 2012. Search and rescue teams will continue their search today for Quebec businessman Roy and his teenage son who’ve been missing since mid-week after failing to return from a fishing trip in northern Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Search continues for prominent businessman, son after helicopter goes missing in Quebec

Stephane Roy is founder and president of Sagami Inc.

A prominent Quebec businessman known for his exploits in the greenhouse tomato industry and his teenage son remained missing Friday after the helicopter they were travelling in failed to return from a fishing trip.

Stephane Roy is founder and president of Sagami Inc., which sells greenhouse tomatoes and strawberries under the Sagami and Savoura brands.

His company said in a statement its officials are doing everything they can to ensure Roy and his son are found safe and sound.

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

On Friday, Canadian Forces planes and helicopters continued to search a vast area, examining possible routes the missing helicopter may have taken between Lac De La Bidiere and Ste-Sophie, the Laurentians community about 90 minutes away where Roy lives.

A Hercules plane and three Griffon helicopters were being used in the search alongside civilian search and rescue organizations, Capt. Trevor Reid said from Trenton, Ont.

Seach teams had been scrambled Thursday, but were hampered by heavy thunderstorms.

“We’re searching an area that’s approximately 20,000 square kilometres,” Reid said. “The terrain is challenging — it’s heavily forested, rocky, with several lakes in the area as well.”

Roy was described as an experienced pilot with numerous flight hours aboard the craft in question, a Robinson R44 helicopter.

“It was his own helicopter, an aircraft in excellent condition, Mr. Roy is someone who is very structured, who takes care of his equipment,” said Andre Michaud, a friend of Roy’s and president of Agro Quebec.

Four people — Roy and 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.

A Facebook page was created Friday specifically geared towards gathering information about Roy and his son, as many would be heading to the region this weekend.

Michaud said it has been difficult time for the company, but hailed the mobilization of local teams that were leaving no stone unturned to find the pair.

“All we have is a trajectory,” Michaud said. “But it’s Point A to Point B, so with about 20 aircraft in the air, we think we’ll be able to at least find some clues.”

Quebec provincial police spokeswoman Helene Nepton said police have set up a command post and are ready to move once the craft is found. The Canadian Forces say there’s no time frame for how long such an operation can last.

“We take these searches hour by hour, we don’t look too far to the future or speculate on what might happen,” Reid said. “Our focus is the operation at hand.”

Michaud described Roy as a North American model in the industry. The privately held company operates eight production facilities in Quebec and is committed sustainable agriculture.

The entrepreneur was described as the “undisputed king of greenhouse tomato production in Quebec” in a 2015 feature in the Montreal Gazette newspaper.

“He is an entrepreneur in its purest form,” Michaud said of Roy. “An entrepreneur who is focused on sustainable development, the environment, and organic growing.”

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Mountain Pineapple defers application for new cannabis store in Rossland

The application was originally going to be reviewed by city council on May 19

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

Fact: B.C. bats don’t carry or spread COVID

BC Annual Bat Count goes this summer, citizens encouraged to take part

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read