A four-year-old boy who went missing in the bush near Mackenzie, B.C., about 180 kilometres north of Prince George on Saturday has been found safe.
The child, George Hazard-Benoit, had been berry picking with his mother and her friend at Lions Lake, and was napping in the family van 10 metres from the two adults when he disappeared around 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday.
He was found just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, wet and cold but otherwise uninjured.
He was transported by ambulance to hospital for a medical checkup.
Several teams, including ones from Prince George and Mackenzie, scoured the heavily wooded area by the lake all day Sunday.
Conservation officers and RCMP aircraft also helped in the search, which was hindered by heavy rain overnight and into Sunday.
‘Everyone was cheering’
Tamara Wiese was among the family friends who spent the day searching for the young boy.
“He’s safe, he’s safe, he’s safe,” she said, tearing up over the phone minutes after he’d been found and whisked away to hospital.
Wiese said he was found near a lake in the hour that the rain briefly let up.
She said the mood at the command post was “relief, pure relief.”
“We clapped, we watched the ambulance leave, everyone was cheering for them,” she said.
Wiese said she’s not yet sure who exactly found George, but thanked everyone who helped spread the word, speaking over the din of volunteers cheering as they cleared up the makeshift camp.
“Thank you again so much everybody, all the prayers and love was felt and it’s a great ending to a terrible situation,” she said.
Search and rescue teams are looking for a missing 4-year-old boy in the bush near Mackenzie, B.C. about 180 kilometres north of Prince George.
The child, named George, had been berry-picking with his parents at Lions Lake when he became separated at about 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday. It’s believed he spent the night outside.
Several SAR teams, including ones from Prince George and Mackenzie, continue to scour the heavily-wooded area by the lake.
About a hundred volunteers from the community have joined in the search, including family friend Tamara Wiese.
“His dad is getting pictures of his boots and the soles so we can be looking out for what the footprints would look like,” she said, from the lake.
“His mom is out here with search and rescue.”
Search hindered by weather
Wiese said it has been raining overnight and throughout Sunday since the boy went missing.
“We’re just hoping to find him soon,” she said.
RCMP say conservation officers are also heading to the lake to help with the search. They deal with conflict between animals and humans
Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, with Prince George RCMP says the help is needed to find the child.
“He’s gone missing in the bush, in the woods, so conservation would be an asset.”
RCMP aircraft were out looking for the child on Saturday but won’t likely won’t be able to take off on Sunday due to bad weather, Saunderson said.
George was last seen wearing a bright blue coat with a hood, a black shirt with glow in the dark lettering and dark navy pants.
He is three feet or 0.9 metres tall and has short dark auburn hair.
Official RCMP Release is now out:
Mackenzie RCMP were notified of a missing four-year-old child on August 17 2019 at 1:06 PM in the Lions Lake area.
The child was with his parent’s berry picking when he became separated from them at 12:36 PM. First line officers responded immediately and called for assistance to aid in the search.
Police and Search and Rescue from Mackenzie, Prince George, Fort St Joh, Fort St James and Chetwynd are actively looking for the missing boy. PDS from Prince George are on scene and RCMP air support has been called to assist.
Anyone who wishes to help in the search are asked to report to the command center set up at Lions Lake Provincial Park. A search and rescue coordinator is there to assist.
George, the four-year-old child was last seen wearing a bright blue coat with a hood, a black shirt with glow in the dark lettering and dark navy pants. He is 3 feet tall and has short dark auburn hair.
Cpl. Madonna Saunderson
District Advisory NCO (Media Relations)
4020 5th Avenue, Prince George B.C. V2M 7E7