Search effort has 'positive outcome' for missing man lost in St. Mary's Bay area during fishing trip

·2 min read
A Cormorant helicopter was used in the search of a missing man in the St. Mary's Bay area on Monday.  (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)
A Cormorant helicopter was used in the search of a missing man in the St. Mary's Bay area on Monday. (Brett Ruskin/CBC - image credit)
A Cormorant helicopter was used in the search of a missing man in the St. Mary's Bay area on Monday.
A Cormorant helicopter was used in the search of a missing man in the St. Mary's Bay area on Monday. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

A search and rescue manager says it's amazing one man 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 CBC News her group received a call around 9 p.m. Sunday night regarding a man — who is in his late 60s — from the community of St. Mary's who left to go fishing in the morning but didn't return.

Fitzsimmons said the man's family became concerned and turned to the volunteer fire department in Riverhead for help. The department called the 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 around 11 p.m. Sunday night.

Fitzsimmons said the search continued until about 2 a.m. and was called off until daylight on Monday.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre 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 help from Rovers Search and Rescue, local fire departments and the Salvation Army which lasted until 3 p.m. Monday afternoon when the missing man was found. About 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 nearby cabin found the man Monday afternoon about four kilometres from his car. A helicopter from Newfoundland Helicopters, a company based in Clarenville, made the pickup and the man was taken to hospital for assessment.

Fitzsimmons said she isn't sure what happened exactly, but figures the man went in the woods and became disoriented.

She said he wasn't able to explain what happened because he was disoriented, but was wearing rain gear and sheltered down for the night.

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