Search operators said a mobile phone signal could be a clue for the location in Sherbrooke, Que., with a 22-year-old pilot, that a plane was missing sometime late Wednesday or early Thursday.
When it vanished from the radar, Hind Barch was alone onboard a Cessna 172 owned by Cargair Flight Training School.
Search coordinators say that a cell signal has been detected close Miller Lake — less than three kilometers away from ground research since this morning. The lake is surrounded by a thick forest of 180 square kilometers.
According to the organization, the aircraft left Mirabel on Wednesday night was one of two. President of Cargair, Josée Prud’homme, said the drivers wished more night flights experience.
“If the circumstances permitted it, they were to create a’ touch and go’ in Sherbrooke,” Prud’homme said. The two aircraft were not going to Sherbrooke, Prud’homme said, and Barch’s aircraft vanished in the first phase of the flight between Mirabel and Sherbrooke on the planned flight.
Prud’homme said that Barch has a pilot license and hopes to have an aviation career.
“She is a 22-year-old extraordinary who hopes to become a professional pilot,” Prud’homme said. “For several months she has been with us, which is why it’s so emotional.”
About 100 volunteers worked in organizations in Racine, 20 km outside Sherbrooke. They walked from the highway to the forest and went back. They have come from everywhere: Quebec City, Mont-Tremblant, Vermont.
“This is a large family,” said Prud’homme. “An incident of this kind concerns all of us because we are all passionate about aviation, so it’s always difficult and emotional to look at this morning.” A total of 50 personnel from the Canadian Forces participate in the search operation coordinated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The efforts also include aerial search and rescue agencies operated by the military, Sûreté du Québec, and SERABEC, Quebec.
Prud’homme told the pilot of the other aircraft but was unable to communicate information while researching the Transportation Safety Board.