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

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

The much-awaited Splash Park opens in Burns Lake

The Splash Park at the Radley Beach Park is finally open for… Continue reading

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Granisle receives $4.3 million funding for Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade

The village will finally get to upgrade the 49 years old plant

Spirit North Burns Lake conducting canoe, paddle board camp for indigenous kids

Rachelle van Zanten, the Community Program Director for the Burns Lake area… Continue reading

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read