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Missing Prince George boy cold and hungry but safe: RCMP

Luke was found by searchers just south of Hixon, a town 40 minutes north of Quesnel
Multiple search and rescue groups were on task near Hixon, B.C. in the search for a missing boy. Headquarters for the operation were just outside the Hixon Fire Department. (Cassidy Dankochik photo - Quesnel Observer)

To the relief of all involved, a 12-year-old missing boy was located by search crews Friday afternoon just south of Hixon 48 hours after he was first reported missing.

“He’s alive and doing okay,” Prince George RCMP Const. Jennifer Cooper said. “He’s cold and hungry, as expected. But as far as I know he’s going to be alright.”

Crews began searching for Luke at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24. Quesnel Search and Rescue tweeted he had been safely located just after 6 p.m. on Friday, March 26.

Prince George Search and Rescue coordinator Dave Merritt was in charge of organizing the search which was a challenging one due to the terrain searchers had to traverse.

“It is not the friendliest terrain out there, that’s for sure,” Cooper said, noting the snow was thigh deep at points in the search area. “My son is about four feet tall, so that’s pretty much waist deep on him. The little guy is lucky he didn’t get caught somewhere like that. And it got pretty cold last night, minus one if you’re out in a little jacket is pretty darn cold.”

Merritt said search and rescue training allowed teams to remain focused.

“We were pretty confident,” he said. “We had a pretty large net over the area, and it was just a matter of time.”

While the final RCMP update before Luke was found noted the possibility he may have hitchhiked out of the Hixon area, searchers and police felt confident he would be found by rescuers.

“It felt like it would have been silly to close that door,” Cooper said. “We are very happy that he was not too far out of our region… (Search and rescue) trusted their instincts and stayed in that region and they were correct.”

More than 40 search and rescue volunteers from 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Vanderhoof, Mackenzie, Fort St. James and Houston took part in the search. Merritt also extended thanks to the Prince George amateur radio club and Prince George Salvation Army for assisting with logistics.

READ MORE: Quesnel Search and Rescue say missing boy found

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