The only Canadian aboard the Air France plane that went missing off the coast of Brazil late Sunday was an intelligent, hard-working man who loved golf and travelling, his brother told CBC News.


Canadian Brad Clemes, left, is one of 228 people who boarded Air France Flight 447, which went missing late Sunday. ((Family photo))

Brad Clemes, a 49-year-old father of two adult sons, was on the flight carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it disappeared from radar screens about four hours into the flight, at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Aircraft scouring the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil early Tuesday found debris that may be from the aircraft.

It is unclear what happened to people aboard the aircraft, but officials believe the chances of finding survivors are very small. Clemes's family is now trying to come to terms with the idea that he is gone, said the CBC's Nil Koksal, reporting from Guelph, Ont.

Clemes was originally from Guelph, but had been living with his wife in Belgium and working for the past 14 years as an executive for Coca-Cola.

He was a "humorous guy" and "a joy," said Blake, Brad's eldest brother.

"He loved working all over the world. He and his wife wanted to move all over the world and take their sons to different continents and different countries," Blake told Koksal in an interview.

"We didn't get to see a lot of each other, being so far away, but we always made the most of it when he did come back."

Large, tightly knit family

Clemes was one of six siblings — four brothers and two sisters. Blake Clemes described the family as very close.

Brad was the class president at his high school in Guelph and was well-liked in the community, Blake said. He described his brother as an intelligent man who worked hard to move up the corporate ladder and had a passion for golf.

"All the boys are golf fanatics in the family, so we've travelled literally all over the world golfing with each other," Blake said.


Searchers in planes spotted debris including an orange life-vest and what is believed to be an airline seat at about 12:30 a.m. ET Tuesday. ((CBC))

"And as my one brothers said yesterday, we don't have a brother foursome anymore, so that is kind of tough."

No sign of survivors

Meanwhile, searchers in planes over the Atlantic spotted debris including an orange life-vest, a small white piece of metal and what is believed to be an airline seat at about 1:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET) Tuesday, Lt.-Col. Ricardo Dechen of the Brazilian air force told CBC News.

An apparent oil-like residue was also on top of the water in the area, about 650 kilometres northeast of the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, where the search was initially focused. The area is about 2,400 kilometres northeast of Rio.

There were no signs of any lifeboats, survivors or bodies.

The air force won't be able to confirm the debris belongs to the Air France jetliner until boats arrive in the area, a spokesman for the Brazilian air force said. Military officials had earlier stated that boats weren't expected to reach the site until Wednesday.

Brad Clemes's wife, one of his brothers and one of his two sons will now fly to Paris, where there will be a memorial dedicated to the people aboard the flight, Koksal said. 

The family will then return to Guelph, where they say they will plan for a wake. They had planned earlier to gather, as Clemes's 21-year old son was to graduate from Queen's University, his father's alma mater.