Volunteer force in search for fisherman expected to grow over weekend

The official search for a P.E.I. fisherman who went overboard off the North Shore was scaled back Friday but RCMP still saw a strong turnout of community volunteers.

Jordan Hicken was lost while fishing out of Naufrage Harbour early Tuesday morning. The rescue effort was called off Tuesday evening and RCMP took it over as a missing person case.

Police scaled back the search because of a recommendation from the coast guard, said RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn.

The RCMP dive team was back in the water Friday, Gunn said.

"They have actually had a chance to get two dives into the area [Friday] morning without success."

The dive team suspended its search until further notice around 5 p.m.

Nicole Williams/CBC

Gunn said the coast guard is ready to assist with the dive team if required, but that is not expected to be necessary

"The divers, with consultation with the coast guard, with all their charts and everything, kind of use a rough science to figure out when and where he may come to shore."

Drone search

Fishing boats were back on the water Friday with volunteers on the shoreline searching and an RCMP drone operator covering as much area as possible.

Nicole Williams/CBC

Gunn said the drone covered the same area Friday morning that it did the previous day, spanning from Naufrage Harbour to the Greenwich area.

"We're going to be going over the same area over and over again in hopes Jordan comes to shore."

The biggest challenge in the search thus far is weather, and the search will continue into Friday evening and over the weekend, Gunn said.

Rough waters hampered the search Wednesday and into Thursday morning, but the RCMP was able to get a dive team out in the afternoon and evening.

Many volunteers

P.E.I. Ground Search and Rescue took the day off Friday and plan to return on the weekend. Gunn said there have been a lot of volunteers out searching, and he expects even more if there is no resolution Friday.

Nicole Williams/CBC

"I expect that through the weekend we'll see a lot of people from the community, and maybe across P.E.I., out walking the coastline because everybody wants to do a little bit to help," said Gunn.

"Again, search for more clues, it may not be him but it may be another article of clothing from him that may wash up to give us more leads to his location."

"We're talking to local fishermen in the area and the family members, they have been on these waters for many years, they know how the tides run."

The Harbour Authority said it's been an extremely emotional time for people in the area — many fish with their own sons so this week's events are hitting them hard.

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