On June 2, 2015 at approximately 3:35 p.m., Sooke RCMP received a third hand report of a missing male near the Sombrio Beach area near Port Renfrew. The missing 58-year-old male was walking in the rural area with a friend. The friend could not continue due to medical issues and returned to their vehicle. The friend waited for approximately three hours before flagging down a passing vehicle and requesting assistance. The missing person was last heard from at approximately 11:45 a.m.. There was limited information due to the third hand report, however, based on the location, time of day, and initial reports of medical issues with the missing person, Sooke RCMP immediately requested the assistance of the Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue.
Sooke RCMP members, RCMP Police Dog Service, and Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue (GSAR) attended the area. The area where the 58-year-old missing was dangerous due to the extremely dense brush, large changes in elevations, heavy fog, moist conditions and limited communication. Marine Search and Rescue was requested and the RCM SAR vessel out of Sooke responded for the shore line search. RCMP air services were not utilized due to the weather conditions.
The extensive search over several kilometers resulted in finding the male around 11:04 p.m., when a SAR Team made verbal contact almost 12 hours since he was last seen. It took several more hours to retrieve the male from the area. The male was exhausted and hungry, but otherwise suffered only minor injuries. He reports getting disoriented in the heavy woods while trying to make it down to the shoreline.
Sooke RCMP would like to thank all those involved in the search and remind the public not to venture out in the rural areas without pre-planning and proper equipment. What appears to be a trail can quickly turn into heavy bush and persons can become disoriented very quickly in changing conditions. In this instance, the 58-year-old male returned safety in no small part for the efforts of the Juan de Fuca SAR volunteers.