Kimberley Search and Rescue members and their colleagues from across the Kootenays were breathing huge sighs of relief on Sunday after a missing two year old was found about three kilometres from where he went missing Saturday.
“We’re pretty gosh darn happy,” said KSAR member Peter Reid.
The boy, two year old Isaac Leuenberger, went missing while on a walk with his mother and siblings. He was last seen around 7:00 pm, (April 30) at Premier Lake Provincial Campground.
Family and others initially searched the area and then called police who activated Search and Rescue.
There was a huge SAR response as teams from Kimberley, Cranbrook, Invermere, Fernie, Elkford and teams as far away as Castlegar and Nelson were still arriving at Premier Lake when the boy was found.
“I wasn’t actually there when he as found,” Reid said. “Wendy (Heatherington, KSAR Search Manager) and myself were out all night and had come back down to get some sleep, so we weren’t there. You always hate to leave a search for that reason, but we are just so relieved and happy.”
Reid says Isaac was found by one of the volunteers searching for the family.
“It’s incredible. As you can imagine there is a great sense of urgency when you are searching for such a little guy. We were all extremely stressed about finding him.”
Reid says that while your heart sinks when you hear of a lost child, it is also possible to be quite optimistic that they will be found within 24 hours.
“The survival rate for a young child is quite high – 95 per cent if you find them within 24 hours. But adding difficulty to that is that even two year olds can travel quite a distance. They found him at least three kilometres from the campsite.”
Reid says it looks like he just ducked into the bush while walking with his family and wandered off.
Cpl. Chris Newel of the Kimberley RCMP told media that other than a few scratches, the boy was in good condition.