Fishermen along the pier in Sylvan Lake had an unusual addition to their nightly cast out on Wednesday evening as they arrived to find a floatplane tied alongside the end of the pier.
With the pier located within Sylvan Lake Provincial Park, it wasn’t long before Alberta Parks officers Rowsell and Cornfield were on scene where they learned the Turbo Otterfloatplane, piloted by Alex Lafortune and Jonathon Brunaau, had recently been sold and was on its way from Montreal to Seattle.
Lafortune explained they had left Winnipeg that morning where they had contacted the Sylvan Lake RCMP prior to take off. RCMP had instructed them they would be able to dock the plane overnight at the Town dock, however they were unable to locate anything other than the pier during the intense storm taking place at the time of their arrival, which had left them circling in the air until they had nearly run out of fuel.
“This lake is the only lake close enough in proximity to fuel on our flight path, making it the only suitable place for us to stop on our way to Kamloops which is our next refuelling location,”explained Lafortune, referring to Sylvan Lake’s close proximity to the Red Deer Airport.
The pair of pilots had planned to dock the plane overnight, rent a truck or find assistance from a friendly local and make their way to the Red Deer Airport where they would need to fill a minimum of two drums of fuel in order to make it to Kamloops.
They admitted to the officers that it was indeed not the best plan, however it was their only option.
With refuelling in the Provincial Park being out of the question and the aircraft almost completely out of fuel this left both the pilots and the parks officers at a loss of what to do next.
District Conservation Officer for the Alberta Parks Division out of Red Deer, Logan VanImshoot explained it was thanks to the kindness of one local stranger and fellow pilot that the youngQuebecois travellers were able to safely make it back into the air.
“A member of the public came to their rescue, as far as also being a pilot and having private resources on Sylvan Lake that he was able to help out this passerby with,” explained Officer VanImschoot. “He just walked up and said you’re coming with me to the young men, had very little interaction with our officers and helped out in a very modest way.”
The floatplane along with LaFortune and Brunaau left Sylvan Lake before the sun had set that same day – surely thankful for the help they had received from a fellow pilot.