Men from Kitchener and Guelph were aboard a helicopter that went missing in northern Ontario this week, the chopper’s owner says.

The helicopter belongs to Apex Helicopters, a company based in the Wingham area which had been contracted to perform spraying work for a northern forestry company.

According to Apex owner Chris Vankoughnett, the local men were part of a four-person crew working with a Robinson R44 helicopter.

They were working at Horwood Lake – about 90 km southwest of Timmins – and another site further west.

Tuesday evening, Vankoughnett said, two members of the crew split up from the group to perform an errand. When they returned, they found a note from the others that they were headed to Horwood Lake to drop off paperwork.

Initially, it was believed that the two local residents had spent the night at Horwood Lake, then returned to Wingham early Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon, the company learned that no Apex helicopters had landed in Wingham.

Police were called at that point, and began a large-scale search that continued Thursday with the use of military aircraft.

Tracking the helicopter is difficult, Vankougnett said, because no flight plan or itinerary was ever filed.

“They didn’t notify anybody that they were making the flight,” he said in an interview.

“Nobody knew exactly when they took off and nobody knew exactly where their final intended landing zone was going to be. We had no idea that this flight even took off when it did.”

In addition to the aircraft and other military efforts, OPP officers from the Foleyet and South Porcupine detachments are taking part in the search.