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Potential sighting of missing Central Saanich man the focus of forest search between Sooke, Cowichan

Organizers call for boots on the ground, all-terrain vehicles, 4x4s, to help find Nathaniel Watters
The Central Saanich Police Service is asking the public to help locate Nathaniel Watters, who was last seen early Friday morning. (Courtesy Central Saanich Police Service)

Boots on the ground are key to finding a Central Saanich man missing since Friday, say friends and family scouring the woods between Sooke and Cowichan.

Nathaniel Watters, 41, was last seen in Central Saanich but last known to be in Port Renfrew, north of Fairy Lake. Friends and family believe he could also be in the Cowichan Valley.

An online fundraiser quickly raised enough cash to search by sky, with a helicopter going up Monday for four hours to search for signs of Watters or his Ford F-150.

The funds raised enough for more airtime, but organizers will wait until there’s another sign or cause to send up a second helicopter, said Stu Hoffman, one of the organizers.

READ ALSO: Fundraiser launched to hire helicopter in case of missing Central Saanich man

They’re following a promising tip of a Saturday sighting and that’s where they hope to focus efforts for the next couple of days. Boots on the ground continue to be key, said organizer Jennifer Hoffman, calling for those with dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and 4x4 vehicles.

To keep searchers safe, they send teams out in four-hour shifts with sometimes half that time eaten up just getting to a site. Those in Cowichan, who feel comfortable, safe and able, can search from that side, she said. They should check in with the Facebook page or call the fire hall for areas that need searching. They hope volunteers and other backcountry users will download the Cal Topo app that maps and tracks.

Searchers are looking for Watters and his grey, 2010 Ford F-150 with B.C. licence plate PJ7 371.

To volunteer, contact search organizers through the Facebook page Help Find Nathaniel Watters or call the Port Renfrew fire hall at 250-647-0101. Volunteers meet daily after 8 a.m. at the fire hall, 6637 Deering Rd.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Watters or his truck is asked to call 911 or the Central Saanich police at 250-652-4441.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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