HALIFAX (NEWS 1130) — A pilot has used his skills to send a special message to people mourning in Nova Scotia, after the worst mass shootings in Canadian history unfolded in the province last weekend.
Earlier this week, flight radar picked up the trail of pilot Dimitri Neonakis as he flew over Nova Scotia, creating a heart-shape path to memorialize the victims who were killed in the rampage.
Neonakis said the heart-shaped path was his way of “hugging” those impacted by the tragic shooting, but he meant to do it anonymously.
“I knew it was something that I was doing for me. But I didn’t think anybody would see me,” he said. “I didn’t have white smoke coming out of the airplane or anything like that. It was a peaceful flight and very quiet.”
Neonakis told Breakfast Television Tuesday morning, he and his co-pilot flew over the province in silence, remembering the victims that died while thinking about the pain the region must be feeling.
Once the two landed, the traffic controller, who saw their flight path, told Neonakis their flight was “beautiful.”
“That’s when I realized that I wasn’t alone on this flight, there was thousands of people that came with me,” he added. “It was the best flight I’ve ever taken.”
Neonakis’ gesture went viral, and his daughter Alexandria was quick to tweet out how proud of her dad she was.
“To see my dad’s little flight path he took to try to make some people smile on a wretched day really feels nice,” one tweet reads.
He was overwhelmed as heck by the positive outpouring but he did end up talking to BT. In the end of the video they ask him a bit about his passion project dream wings which is another of the many things I’m proud of my dad for . https://t.co/g3fUJFnXu7
— Alexandria Neonakis (@Beavs) April 20, 2020
A video of the flight path from Halifax News & Info has received over 30,000 retweets and over 11,000 likes.
Many on Twitter are thanking Neonakis for his love and support as the country mourns.
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Victims of the shooting include an RCMP officer, a teacher, two nurses, neighbours of the shooter and two correctional officers killed in their home.
“My heart is with all the people affected in this small community and in Nova Scotia and across Canada. It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Neonakis said.
-With files from Breakfast Television