Police found a 35-year-old man who had been missing in the fire zone of the White Rock Lake wildfire for several days.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 28), Vernon North Okanagan RCMP patrolling the fire zone on Paxton Valley Road located an abandoned pickup truck high-centred on a fallen tree.
The licence plates were from out of province, and despite running the plates, police couldn’t find the registered owner. The vehicle, however, was unlocked and police found a cellphone inside.
“Fortunately, the cellphone still had enough battery left to show several missed calls,” media relations officer Cpl. Tania Finn said.
“Using the information found in the phone, the police officer on scene was able to make contact with the last caller.”
Mounties said they spoke with one of the man’s family members, who advised police the man suffered from mental health issues and it had been several days since they heard from him, with his current whereabouts unknown.
Police patrolling the area were updated of the man’s name and description.
They found the man lying in a ditch near Falkland.
The man was still conscious and was in need of medical attention. He was transported to the hospital by BC Ambulance Service.
“The man explained that, after his truck became stuck, he tried to walk out but became lost and disorientated in the bush and had wandered for nearly five days before police found him,” the police report said.
Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is reminding the public to stay clear of fire zone areas, due to unsafe conditions and landscapes that may have been altered due to the fire.