Volunteers from two search and rescue groups search for a man who was reported missing in the Alberni Valley.
James Vézina, 30, of Port Alberni has been missing since May 31, according to family and friends. Search crews were called at 9:30 a.m. on Friday June 3 to search for hiking trails around Port Alberni.
“With the amount of time that had passed since this person was last seen, we had to expand our search radius a bit,” said Richard Johns, search manager for the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad ( AVRS). “There were additional factors that made the search a bit more complicated,” he said, adding that he could not give public details about those factors.
Vézina is about six feet tall, is aboriginal, 30 years old and is thought to be wearing all black. He can have a large backpack with him.
“Before that, he was camping with his family and friends. This trip was cut short,” Johns said. Vézina does not usually do camping alone. “It is an unusual circumstance for him, which is part of the circumstances that concern the family,” he added.
There have been social media posts indicating that Vézina may be lost in the trail network behind Maquinna Elementary School. This is an area that researchers have covered, Johns said. “Today alone, our team searched roughly in the Ship Creek Road area to the east end of town through all trail systems, to Upper Burde Street and through Dry Creek Park.
Eleven AVRS members and two members of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area are searching for Vezina.
Johns said the AVRS has requested more searchers for Saturday, June 4. He anticipates that other Arrowsmith members will be joined by those from Comox Valley and Campbell River SAR.
In the meantime, if anyone sees Vézina, they are asked to call the RCMP immediately and possibly take a picture there. The RCMP will pass the information on to search commanders, Johns said.
Alberni ValleyParksvillePORT ALBERNISearch and Rescue