Massive Search On For Missing Boy
Susan Jones | February 15, 2008 at 03:58 pmby
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I can't imagine what the parents are going through and the young lad! Tofino is as beautiful as it is dangerous. I hope they find him quick, it is getting dark.
By The Canadian Press and Westcoaster.ca:
Volunteers poured into a Tofino community centre Friday, offering their help to search for an eight-year-old Washington boy last seen playing on a rocky beach.
The parking lot of the community hall was packed with police and rescue vehicles, as well as the vehicles of local residents who showed up in rain gear, boots and backpacks to get instructions on how to comb through the heavy woods in the area.
Garth Cameron of Westcoast Inland Search and Rescue said it is the biggest search in the area in a long time.
Searchers have fanned out across the town and into the woods, resorts and beaches nearby.
“The more people we have looking for this little guy, the better chance we have of getting him,'' said Cameron, choking up.
“I want him back. It's hard, it's tough. I've got four kids. It's a father's and mother's worst nightmare.''
RCMP Sgt. Dave Lucas said the boy's parents, who are visiting Tofino from Bellingham, Wash., are in shock.
“I don't know what a big enough word is,'' said Lucas, struggling to describe the parents' anguish.
Some people reported seeing the boy in town after he disappeared around 10 a.m. Friday morning, but searchers haven't ruled out the possibility he may have been swept into the water.
The volunteers were aided by a Canadian military Cormorant helicopter. Local aircraft from Atleo Airlines and Tofino Air were also taking part, as well as local boats
Late Friday afternoon, two crews of rescuers from other parts of the island — 20 people in total — were to arrive by Buffalo search and rescue aircraft.
Members of the Ahousat First Nation, Parks Canada employees, police and social services workers were also involved.
“It's the biggest search I've seen in my time here,'' said Lucas.
“Everyone's pulling out the stops looking for this boy.''
Police were notified about 25 minutes after the boy was last seen Friday morning.
Local residents say they heard firefighters yelling the name William over and over as they combed the area.
Officials have confirmed the boy's name is William, but they would not release his last name.
He is described as a white male with brown hair. He is wearing a red jacket, multicoloured fleece, blue jeans and black rubber boots.
Search volunteers were told the boy suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder but that he received his regular medication for the condition on Friday morning before he disappeared.
All the area playgrounds have been searched and store owners have been told to be on the lookout.
“I looked all over,” said searcher Kevin Midgley. “I looked in tree stumps, I looked up trees, I looked under hot tubs and in hot tubs.''
Christine Onyschtschuk, 29, works at the Wikinninsh Inn and came out with a friend to help.
“It cuts to the heart to know a . . . boy has gone missing and there's not much you can do to help.''
Searchers plan to work through the night and late Friday afternoon, officials were setting up cots in the command centre.
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