RCAF launches 'major search and rescue operation' for missing Kapuskasing couple

On Monday, Jody and Nicole Blais left the Sudbury airport in a grey Robinson R66 helicopter to travel to a hanger in Fauquier. They haven't been seen or heard from since.

Hydro One is providing a chopper Sunday

Jody and Nicole Blais went missing during a helicopter flight on Monday. They have not been heard from since. (Radio-Canada)

The Royal Canadian Air Force launched a "major search and rescue operation" on Saturday for a Kapuskasing, Ont., couple who went missing during a helicopter flight this week.

"This will allow for additional RCAF and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) personnel and assets to be tasked to assist with the search," said the Department of National Defence in a news release. 

An army expert refined the search grid Saturday, which is now 10 km northwest of where they'd previously been searching. 

Hydro One is also providing a chopper Sunday to help with the rescue mission. 

The effort is being co-ordinated out of the Victor M. Power Airport in Timmins, the release added. 

Capt. Martin Zimmer, the 'search master,' seen assessing the a map of the area. (CBC )
 

On Monday, Jody and Nicole Blais left the Sudbury airport in a grey Robinson R66 helicopter with white and orange trim to travel to a hangar in Fauquier, near Kapuskasing. They haven't been seen or heard from since.

Since then, provincial police, military personnel, search and rescue teams and family and friends have been looking for them.

On Friday, a friend of the couple, Gilbert Mondoux, said he received confirmation Jody's satellite phone was last connected to the network near Foleyet, northwest of Gogama.

Pictured here is the temporary search headquarters for the armed forces at the Timmins airport. (CBC)
 

According to the federal government, the resources now involved in the search operation include:

  • Three RCAF CC-130 Hercules.
  • Three RCAF CH-146 Griffon helicopters.
  • Three CASARA aircraft.

"We would like to remind everyone between Sudbury and Kapuskasing that the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in an active search area is heavily restricted, as it significantly affects our ability to safely carry out our [search and rescue] mission," the government release said.

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