A missing woman from Duncan is alive and well thanks to work by a Nanaimo RCMP Police Dog Services team.
The 66-year-old woman, who has significant health issues, was reported missing by family members July 30 to the North Cowichan RCMP. Police immediately started a missing persons investigation, but extensive patrols and numerous inquiries failed to locate the woman.
A break in the case came Aug. 3 when a motorcyclist reported finding the women’s vehicle abandoned on a logging road in the Copper Canyon area about 40 kilometres west of Chemainus.
Search and Rescue crews from Duncan and Ladysmith, assisted by the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society, were dispatched to the area and began an extensive ground search.
The next morning the RCMP Air Services helicopter Air 8 joined the search with police dog Boomer and his handler Const. Clay Wurzinger.
With no track or scent detected near the missing woman’s car, Boomer, Wurzinger and the Air 8 pilot started searching the extensive array of logging roads in the area. Nearly five hours later, Boomer alerted his handler to a possible scent of the missing woman.
Wurzinger climbed over a nearby embankment and spotted the missing woman lying at the base of the berm.
Search and rescue technicians were alerted to their location and arrived on foot within 15 minutes.
Over the next two hours emergency first aid was applied as the woman, strapped to a spinal board, was carried out to Air 8 and flown to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital where she is expected to make a full recovery from her ordeal.
“Const. Wurzinger and Boomer’s perseverance in this search led to an outstanding result,” said Supt. Mark Fisher, Nanaimo RCMP detachment commanding officer, in a press release. “Outcomes like this make us all proud of the professionalism and high level of training that Clay and Boomer bring to work on a daily basis in Nanaimo. We are lucky to have them here.”
Wurzinger is one of four dog handlers posted to the Nanaimo RCMP Police Dog Services Section and has been with the section for five years.