A search and rescue manager says it is amazing one person is alive after becoming lost during a fishing trip on Sunday in the St. Mary’s Bay area.
Michelle Fitzsimmons, search manager for Central Avalon Ground Search and Rescue (CAGSAR), told the media her group received a call about 9 p.m. Sunday night about a man, who is in his late 60s, from the community of St. Mary’s who left to go fishing in the morning but did not return.
Fitzsimmons said the man’s family became concerned and turned to the volunteer fire department in Riverhead for help. The department called RCMP, and the RCMP called search and rescue.
“Weather was pretty miserable in the area last night, so it was important to commence a search for the individual right away,” Fitzsimmons said, adding CAGSAR got to the search area about 11 p.m. Sunday night.
Fitzsimmons said the search continued until around 2 a.m. and was called off till daylight on Monday.
The Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax became involved Monday morning with the 103 squadron in Gander to assist with an aerial search with a Cormorant helicopter.
CAGSAR coordinated the search with assistance from Rover Search and Rescue, local fire departments and the Salvation Army which lasted till 3 p.m. Monday afternoon when the missing man was found. Around 40 volunteers on the ground were involved in the search.
“It was amazing he survived the elements of the night. He was wet and cold, but coherent and very happy to be found,” said Fitzsimmons.
“He was definitely in good spirits, even though he was cold and wet. Not all these searches have a positive outcome, but it was fortunate this one did.”
Fitzsimmons said owners of a surrounding cabin found the man Monday afternoon around 4km from his car. A helicopter from Newfoundland Helicopters, a firm based in Clarenville, made the vehicle and the person was taken to hospital for assessment.
Fitzsimmons said she is not sure what happened exactly, however, figures the individual went in the woods and was disoriented.
She said he was not able to explain what occurred due to the fact that he was disoriented, but was wearing rain gear and sheltered down for the night.