Monday, August 08, 2016

Missing Woman Found Alive After Four Days

Boomer to the rescue

Constable Wurzinger and Boomer Photos contributed

A 66 year old female reported missing on July 30 2016 has been found alive by Police Services Dog Boomer and his handler Constable Clay Wurzinger. The woman, who has significant health issues, was reported missing by family members on Saturday July 30, to the North Cowichan RCMP.  A missing persons investigation was immediately initiated but even with extensive patrols and numerous inquiries been done she could not be located.

With hope fading by the hour, a motorcyclist reported finding the women's vehicle on Wednesday August 3 abandoned on a logging road in the Copper Canyon area, approximately 40 kilometres west of Chemainus.

Search and Rescue(SAR) crews from Duncan and Ladysmith, assisted by the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society, were immediately dispatched to the area and began an extensive ground search. The search was suspended for the day when darkness set in. The next morning the search party was assisted by the RCMP Air Services helicopter Air 8 and Police Services Dog Boomer, along with his handler Constable Wurzinger.

With no track or scent detected near her car, Boomer and Wurzinger and the pilot from Air 8 set out searching the extensive array of logging roads. Approximately 5 hours later Boomer straightened, alerting his handler to a possible scent of the missing woman. Constable Wurzinger climbed over a nearby embankment and miraculously, the missing female was spotted lying at the base of the berm. In obvious discomfort and barely able to speak, the female managed to reach out, grab the officers hand and whisper “thank you” over and over again. 

SAR was alerted to their location and arrived on foot within 15 minutes. Over the next two hours emergency first aid was applied and with the female strapped to a spinal board, she was carried out to a waiting Air 8 then transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. She is expected to make a full but slow recovery from her ordeal.

"Constable Wurzinger and Boomer's perseverance in this search led to an outstanding result.  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," said Superintendent Mark Fisher, Officer in Charge, Nanaimo RCMP.

This was a perfect example of the excellent collaboration that exists between the various RCMP police units that are available to assist and the dedicated group of trained and committed civilian organizations. It was a fantastic team effort with the best possible outcome anyone could hope for," said Inspector Ray Carfantan, Officer in Charge, North Cowichan RCMP.

As far as Boomer, he got a good rest and the opportunity to play with his favourite toy. "Catching criminals does not even come close to finding a missing person. Her will to live was amazing and I give her credit for hanging on for what must have been an incredibly tough 4 days,” said Constable Wurzinger of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Constable Wurzinger is one of four dog handlers posted to the Nanaimo RCMP Police Dog Services Section and has been with the section for 5 years. He has 11.5 years’ service and prior to being posted to Nanaimo he served the community of Quesnel.


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