Residents of the small community of Portugal Cove South on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula were waiting for news Tuesday in the search for missing resident Loyola Hartery, while police reported a body had been recovered at sea earlier in the day.
Shortly after 2:30 p.m. NT, police said in a statement that a commercial vessel had discovered a body in the ocean near Witless Bay, about 100 km north of Portugal Cove South.
Hartery, 68, was last seen early Friday morning leaving his home in the Southern Shore community on his ATV.
An extensive search took place over the weekend including ground searches of the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula by Central Avalon Ground Search and Rescue, aerial searches by the Canadian Armed Forces 103 Squadron out of Gander, Government Air Services and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. Additionally, the Canadian Coast Guard searched the coastline between Chance Cove Park and west of Trepassey.
On Tuesday, the RCMP said its search efforts have been exhausted, meaning the search is officially called off.
Community members and volunteers had been continuing with their own, Mayor Clarence Molloy told CBC News.
An RCMP official said the force is "unable to speculate on a connection," and that police were waiting for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to identify the body.
Molloy said he spoke with Hartery's family, and that they were told police were on their way to the community to meet with the family.
"The way they mentioned it to me, they feel that's their brother," Molloy told CBC News Tuesday afternoon.
"We're hoping [that] it is him. At least it would be closure for the family … They've been steady on all weekend searching from here."
'The community came right together here'
Molloy described Hartery as an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing, as well as a well-known community member who helps anybody he can.
"He's always around to help people. Move their pots around. In the wintertime he'd have the plow on his bike and plowed driveway for people," Molloy said.
He's well known and well liked, keeps on top of everything…He'll be missed around the community, you know?"
Molloy said people have brought food to the community centre throughout the search to feed volunteers. "The community came right together here, which like most places in Newfoundland does the same thing," he said.
The RCMP said that while active search efforts have been suspended, anyone with any information or possible sightings can contact Ferryland RCMP and all new information will be investigated.
The police force is also asking cabin owners in the area of Portugal Cove South to check any trail cameras.