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SAR teams resume search for experienced hiker on Vancouver Island

The search for an overdue hiker continues today near Gold River.

The Campbell River Volunteer Search and Rescue Society is leading the search, with assistance from teams from across Vancouver Island and the mainland.

Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue manager, Paul Berry, is overseeing the search efforts.

Berry said the 64-year-old hiker is from the Black Creek area and is a very highly-skilled, competent, experienced hiker who has spent decades on the mountains of Vancouver Island.

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“He left last Monday to summit a number of peaks and was expected to be home last Thursday evening and failed to return,” Berry said. “(The) search began on Friday and continued through the weekend with teams from both across Vancouver Island and the mainland.”

It involves ground SAR and mountain rescue teams, as well as an extensive air search by RCMP and commercial helicopters.

Berry said the terrain is very challenging.

“The search is focused around Mt.Filberg, in the area between where his car was parked at the end of the logging road and the Mt.Filberg area,” Berry said. “We’re operating in very complex, Class 3 and some Class 4 mountain terrain and, in the lower elevations, very heavily wooded gullies where the ground search teams are connecting grid searches.”

Sunday’s clear conditions presented a “good weather opportunity” and SAR members “hit the search areas hard on the ground and in the air,” Berry said.

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“Weather has hampered our abilities to get teams up onto peaks early in the day and so they’ve had to hike long distances before they could even start searching,” Berry added.

Searchers are “working very hard today to complete objectives that we want to accomplish today,” Berry said.

SAR members will reevaluate each day but ultimately, he said, they hope to locate the man and “resolve his disappearance.”

Teams from Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox, and Campbell River from the island are involved, along with Lions Bay, North Shore, and Ridge Meadows from the mainland.

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